Kahnawake Gambling License Review

Kahnawake is a highly respected online gambling jurisdiction, and the Kahnawake gambling license is a favourite among iGaming operators. This regulator is regarded for being reputable, for promoting fair and responsible gaming, for having a relatively low license fee, no taxes, reasonable requirements, and covering a wide range of markets.

The Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, just outside of Montréal, Quebec, Canada. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) was established in 1996 and has been continuously licensing and regulating interactive (online) gaming since 1999, making it one of the first in the world to regulate online gambling.

The Commission has been given the power to license and regulate gaming and gaming-related activities that take place within and from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake in accordance with the highest principles of integrity and honesty. Currently, it licenses and regulates interactive gaming as well as land-based poker rooms and raffles conducted within its territory. In essence, it’s iGaming license covers just about every form of internet-based gambling, from slots and casino games to poker and sports betting.

The Commission has also forged relationships with other regulatory bodies including Antigua and Barbuda, the Malta Gaming Authority, and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.

Holding a Kahnawake gaming license can provide you with a number of benefits. Beyond those listed above, it gives you the ability to cooperate with some of the industry’s most popular payment system providers and game developers. But is it right for you?

In our Kahnawake gambling license review, Casinnovate will provide you with the information you need to help you understand what is required to obtain this license and its associated costs, among other important details.

Kahnawake License Fast Facts

  • First gambling license issued – 1999
  • Regulator – Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • License provider – Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Number of license types – 5
  • Approximate license costs – US$65,000+
  • Average time to obtain license – 4 – 8 weeks
  • License validity period – 5 Years
Types of Licenses - What Licenses Does Kahnawake Offer?

Types of Licenses – What Licenses Does Kahnawake Offer?

Although the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has six licences, it only issues five under its “Regulations Concerning Interactive Gaming”. The reason is that its Interactive Gaming License (IGL) is held by Mohawk Internet Technologies. Only one IGL can be issued at any given time, and Mohawk Internet Technologies has held the sole IGL issued by the KGC since 1999.

The IGL license aside, the following are the five different Kahnawake online gambling licenses available:

  • Client Provider Authorization (CPA) – This license covers interactive gaming services from the hosting facility in Kahnawake. In other words, this license is for standard iGaming operators who want to base their operations within the Kahnawake Territory. Holders of this valid license are known as Authorized Client Provider (ACP). An ACP must be hosted at the hosting facility that holds the IGL and the ACP can offer any type of interactive gaming, including casino, poker, bingo, sportsbook, etc.
  • Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization (IJA) – This license is for operators who already hold a valid online gaming licence issued by another jurisdiction, and who would like to locate some or all of their equipment and personnel within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. The primary jurisdiction (the issuer of the operator’s other licence) is responsible for regulating the operations of an IJA licensee. The KGC does not duplicate the primary jurisdiction’s continuous compliance requirements.
  • Casino Software Provider Authorization (CSPA) – This license allows the holder to locate and operate interactive gaming equipment at the location facility owned and operated by the IGL. It lets them license casino software to a third-party iGaming operator for use on the third-party iGaming operator’s site. That said, a CSPA license does not entitle the holder to offer interactive games directly to players.
  • Live Dealer Studio Authorization (LDSA) – This license allows the valid licensee to operate a Live Dealer Studio, conduct Live Dealer Games, and conduct interactive gaming-related activities from premises located in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.
  • Key Person Permit (KPP) – This is a license issued to a minimum of one person who is in charge of either a managerial or operational function for the business that holds a CPA license.

It is important to note that all operators who hold a CPA license must designate at least one person to perform key managerial functions for or on behalf of the ACP. As this is the case, if you want to run a regular online casino operation with a Kahnawake license, you will need to obtain both a Client Provider Authorization license and a minimum of one Key Person Permit.

All licenses (excluding the IJA license) are valid for 5 years.

The License Process - How Do I Get a Kahnawake Gambling License?

The License Process – How Do I Get a Kahnawake Gambling License?

To receive a valid Kahnawake gaming license, you will need to apply for the appropriate license(s) and provide the necessary documents in order to prove your credibility. There are several documents that you will need to supply to pass the due diligence checks and meet other important criteria.

With that said, here’s a look at what is involved when applying for a Client Provider Application license.

Requirements for obtaining a CPA license

The first step is to provide the necessary documents for application. This includes both filling out required forms and providing personal documents. To give you an idea of what is needed, we’ve outlined the necessary documents in the following tables*.

Kahnawake Gaming License - Required CPA Application Documents

Additionally, as is the case with all reputable licensing jurisdictions, Kahnawake requires personal documents of the applicant and each key person involved in the operation (e.g. officer, director, shareholder, beneficial and ultimate beneficial owner) as part of its due diligence process.

Kahnawake Gaming License - Required Personal Documents

The entire licensing process is conducted in three phases:

  1. Application phase – During this phase, the KGC assigns your completed application to the Compliance Officer. The Compliance Officer will first verify that the application fee has been paid (this fee and others are outlined later in the review) and will then proceed to review all documentation submitted with the application. This phase takes approximately 4 – 8 weeks to complete.

2. Preliminary 6-month Permit – At this point, you will be notified if you have been granted the application, denied the application, or will have the application returned with a request for additional information.

If the application is approved, you will be issued a preliminary 6-month permit. During this period, the Commission will review your performance and determine whether you have implemented the appropriate continuous compliance program to their satisfaction. The KGC will also investigate if there have been an excessive number of complaints from players or third parties, if you have broken any laws, breached any regulation, or have committed any other action that has negatively impacted the Commission’s credibility or reputation.

Based on their assessment, the KGC will decide to renew the license for a term of five years, decline to renew the license, or extend the term of the preliminary CPA for another tree months. This phase takes approximately 6 months to complete.

3. CPA & Continuous Compliance – A this stage, a second CPA Permit is issued, and continual compliance begins. After this point, the applicant is fully licensed and will be subject to the KGC Renewal Process, which occurs every five years. This phase is ongoing.

It is important to provide all requested documents accurately and in a timely manner to reduce processing times and to avoid having your application rejected or returned with an additional request for more information.

The application phase takes about 4 to 8 weeks to complete before you are issued a preliminary 6-month license. All in all, it can take between 7 – 12 months to complete the entire process from the point you submit the application to the point you are a fully verified permit holder.

License Costs - How Much Does a Kahnawake License Cost?

License Costs – How Much Does a Kahnawake License Cost?

Compared to other jurisdictions, the Kahnawake gambling license cost is relatively low. The fees that licensees are required to pay are straightforward and include:

  • Application fee (paid with application)
  • Annual fee (paid every year)
  • Renewal application fee (paid every 5 years)

The following table shows a breakdown of Kahnawake gaming license costs.

Kahnawake Gambling License Cost

Any unpaid amount is subject to 10% penalties per annum. Unpaid amounts are calculated on a per diem basis, from the date the fee was due until it has been paid in full.

As for taxation, there is 0% corporate tax rate and no additional gaming tax. Naturally, with no tax, this makes Kahnawake an attractive jurisdiction for all online gambling businesses, especially for start-ups or businesses with tight budgets.

All in all, for a start-up to launch an online casino, it will cost a minimum of US$66,000 ($60,000 for the CPA application and annual fee + $6,000 for one KPP application and annual fee). This is notably lower than a Malta license, for instance, where you can pay hundreds of thousands of euros and will require separate licenses to offer different gambling activities.

**Note: Keep in mind that the prices listed are for informational purposes only. They are meant to provide you with an approximate idea of overall costs and fees associated with interactive gaming licenses from this jurisdiction. Costs may vary and are subject to change.

Licensee Regulations – What Rules Am I required to Follow?

Licensee Regulations - What Rules Am I required to Follow?

All Kahnawake licensees are required to maintain compliance with the Commission’s regulations for the entire time they hold a KGC license. The regulations ensure that all interactive gaming and gaming related activities that are conducted withing or from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake satisfy several principles. Among these include:

  • Ensuring interactive gaming is carried out in a responsible, fair, and honest way
  • Preventing interactive gaming from being associated with crime or criminal activity in any way
  • Ensuring operators of interactive games treat all players fairly, including paying winnings promptly and securely holding all information related to player accounts in the strictest confidence.
  • Protecting minors (persons under the age of 18), and other vulnerable persons from gambling-related harm

It is important that you read all compliance regulations and policies that apply to the operator license(s) and permit(s) you hold. Failing to comply can result in stiff penalties and/or having your license revoked.

In what regions does this license allow me to operate?

A KGC license covers all legal gambling markets, with the exception of the USA and any jurisdictions where online gambling is banned.

With that said, be advised that even though this license covers most markets, if a specific jurisdiction has local gambling regulations, a separate local license or special permission may be required for you to be able to target players in these regions. Additionally, keep in mind that certain payment service providers may block funds from these locally regulated regions. Examples of jurisdictions that may require additional licenses include:

  • UK
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Romania
  • France
  • Italy

License Pros and Cons – Is a Kahnawake License Right for Me?

License Pros and Cons – Is a Kahnawake License Right for Me?

Having a look at the different benefits and drawbacks associated with this jurisdiction can help you to decide if pursuing a license from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a smart option for your iGaming business.

Kahnawake gaming license advantages

  • Low license fees – The Kahnawake gambling license is relatively low cost, especially when compared to other regulators like the UK, Malta, and Gibraltar.
  • No taxes – There is 0% corporate tax rate as well as no additional gambling tax, helping to save on costs.
  • Great reputation – It is well respected by many businesses in the industry and accepted by payment service providers.
  • Covers many markets – In addition to covering just about every online gambling activity, it pretty much covers all legal iGaming markets, except for the USA.

Kahnawake gaming license drawbacks

  • Waiting period – On average there is a 6-month waiting period to be fully validated as a KGC permit holder, and this is after the 4 – 8 weeks it can take your application to process. Although this is not the longest waiting period, it’s also not the shortest and many operators do not feel fully secure while they are waiting for approval as at any point there is a possibility that they will not be granted a full license.
  • Not as well known – The Kahnawake gaming license is not as prestigious as other better known regulator licenses, such as the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission. Currently, it has licensed just over 250 gaming sites. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is a poor choice as it still has a golden reputation. However, players may be less likely to recognize its significance, so you may need to work harder to be competitive depending on the market you’re targeting.

Kahnawake Gambling License FAQ

Kahnawake Gambling License FAQ
Do I need an online gambling license?

Yes. Even if you choose another online gambling licensing jurisdiction over Kahnawake it is essential that you obtain a proper iGaming operating license for your operation. A license legitimizes your business in the industry, helps to prove your trustworthiness to players and other potential business partners, and helps you to avoid legal trouble. What’s more, in most cases a license is required if you want to work with banking institutions.

How much does a Kahnawake gaming license cost?

The average cost is US$65,000 (excluding other fees). This cost is highly competitive in the industry. This, coupled with its 0% tax makes a KGC license one of the best for start-ups with tight budgets.

How long does it take to get a gambling license with Kahnawake?

It takes 4 – 8 weeks for the application to process and about 6 months to receive full license validation.

What type of license do I need?

There are 4 different types of interactive licenses. You may require multiple licenses to run your intended operation. That said, an online casino start-up will need to apply for a Client Provider Authorization license and a minimum of one Key Person Permit.

Why is Kahnawake a good license to get?

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is known for having a solid reputation, reasonable requirements, is committed to responsible gambling, covers many markets around the world, covers various gambling activities, and offers low fees and no taxation.

How Can Casinnovate Help Me Get a Kahnawake License?

How Can TCS Help Me Get a Kahnawake License?

We are partnered with some of the most reputable iGaming software solutions providers in the industry. Our team of experts can connect you with the best experts to help guide you through the complex Kahnawake gambling license process and/or who offer products, services and software that is compliant with this jurisdiction.

Not sure where to get started? We recommend getting in touch with some of the top online gambling software platforms that can offer the support and solutions you may need:


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Casinnovate is always here to help! If you have more questions about the Kahnawake gaming license, our partners, or how we can offer you support in regard to other aspects of your iGaming business goals, get in touch.