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Curacao initiates new online gambling licence process via updated portal

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Curacao launches a new portal and initiates an updated online gambling licence process to increase transparency and address issues within the industry.

Known as an online gaming haven, there are several hundred Curacao licensed gaming operators, thanks to the island’s simple licensing process.

Curacao’s economy relies heavily on the online gaming industry. This gambling regulator was legalised by the National Ordinance on Offshore Hazards in 1996, and since then, the island has had almost 30 years to develop an efficient gaming licence process for companies.

At present, it has provided 450 gaming licences for online gambling businesses due to an issuing process that is relatively simple compared to other countries, and it doesn’t require huge investment. This has made Curacao a hub for companies seeking to obtain gaming licences.

The Curacao Gaming Control Board (GCB) is charged with licensing and supervision of the online gambling sector on behalf of the Minister of Finance.

Curacao’s new steps enhancing control and legitimacy of the casino industry

The GCB has now initiated the application process for new online gambling licences. This is a measure aimed specifically at benefitting foreign regulators seeking better control over Curacao-based offshore casino operators that have been offering illegal gambling services worldwide.

From the first of September, operators can access licence application forms from the GCB’s new online portal, which offers a comprehensive guide to applicants and provides detailed information regarding the licensing procedure.

The opening of the portal coincides with Curacao’s preparation for the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK), a law that will change how they licence foreign online gambling operators in the jurisdiction.

The submission of licence applications is to begin in November 2023, affording operators sufficient time to prepare their documentation for submission. Existing licence holders will automatically transition to the new system, and companies holding existing sub-licences will also need to apply alongside new operators but will be permitted to maintain their operations.

The GCB will issue provisional licences after November to businesses that have submitted their applications. Strengthening the licence application process is expected to attract a wider range of operators interested in operating within the jurisdiction, boosting the Curacao online casino market and providing a more transparent gambling sector.

What is the LOK?

The LOK is set to be monumental when it comes to the Curacao online gambling sector, a market once thought to be passive when it came to regulation and the enforcement thereof.

Curacao’s current law mandates online casino operators to apply to one of four existing master licence holders to receive a sub-licence. Once the LOK comes into force, sub-licensees will have three months to submit a new application with the GCB for a direct licence.

The application process comprises three forms, each requiring the relevant supporting documentation:

  • The first is an online gaming application, which requires the applicant to provide projections for business operations and strategic targets.
  • The second is a personal declaration detailing information regarding key figures involved in the business. They will carry a source of funds check out on any person with over 10% interest in the business.
  • The final form consists of corporate and business disclosures.

Effects of the new legislation

The new legislation will strengthen the Curacao licence by imposing higher barriers to market entry for the operators and align the Curacao licence closer to its counterpart licences in EU jurisdictions.

Centralising the process under the CGB will give the government full oversight of the licensees and address more effectively crucial concerns about illegal gambling and money laundering

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