Vanuatu launches new online gambling license for pre-regulated markets

AGB - Asia Gaming Brief
Vanuatu launches new online gambling license for pre-regulated markets
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During an event in the nation’s capital of Port Vila, The Honorable Minister for Finance, John Salong (MP) and Macyn White, CEO of the Vanuatu Gaming Authority, officially launched the newly amended regulations relating to the Vanuatu Interactive Gaming Act that will update the previous Vanuatu licenses dating back to 1993.

Aimed at operators wishing to target pre-regulated markets, the new rules will see the island nation implement an application process that is entirely online. Administered by the newly established Vanuatu Gaming Authority (VGA), the online portal aims to cut down processing times while ensuring sufficiently strict background checks on all applicants are carried out.

Key facts about the new license that were revealed during the event include a EUR5,000 ($5,370) application fee, a EUR10,000 ($10,700) annual license fee, a license validity period of 15 years from initial issuance, and a flat 1 percent Wagering Activity Tax charged on Gross Gaming Revenue.

The Vanuatu Department of Customs and Inland Revenue is fulfilling the role of gambling regulator, with applications being processed by VGA Limited as exclusive agent in a public-private partnership arrangement.

At least initially, the new Vanuatu Interactive Gaming License is primarily aimed at B2C operators, and two URLs are included with every license. Additional URLs can be added for a fee, effectively enabling the operation of White Label brands in a way that is similar to other jurisdictions like the Isle of Man, with the license holder having to ensure compliance with all rules by any White Label partner websites operated under its umbrella.

The Honorable Minister for Finance, John Salong (MP), commented: “While creating the new framework, we were guided by the ever-stricter compliance requirements the eGaming industry operates under. It was clear from the outset that our new regulations had to strike an important balance between complying with the highest standards and leaving licensees sufficient freedoms to do what they do best: operate their businesses.”

“Our new application process has been designed to ensure timely processing while at the same time allowing for strict background checks prior to any license application being granted. Leveling up our regulatory framework to ensure Vanuatu can once again play a leading role as a trusted and stable eGaming jurisdiction forms a key part of our future economic strategy,” he continued.

“We are proud of our pioneering roots in the eGaming industry and are confident that our new regulations will once again make us the center of attention and a desirable jurisdiction for online gambling brands from across the world. The newly amended regulations relating to the Vanuatu Interactive Gaming Act also take into account changes in the global compliance landscape and ensure the industry on our island remains crime free,” noted the official.

Once an application has been submitted online and is deemed to be of sufficient quality, it will advance to the processing stage. Where an application is not deemed to be suitable or of sufficient quality, it will be returned and the applicant will be given an opportunity to address any shortcomings before applying again. Processing of new applications is expected to begin in early July, with a further announcement to be made at the time. In the meanwhile, interested parties can contact the Vanuatu Gaming Authority by emailing .