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Curacao launches new gambling authority to clean up its image

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Curacao takes Dutch advice to heart and makes sweeping changes to become a trusted online gambling jurisdiction.


Curacao was seen as the wild west of gambling jurisdictions as the online gambling industry moved towards stronger regulations and licensing. The reason for this was how the government of Curacao set up its gambling licenses.

How it currently works is that four companies hold B2B licenses. These master licenses empower them to offer B2C appointments to Curacao-licensed casinos.

Unfortunately, it also allowed them to set the terms and conditions for these licenses, regardless of what the government deemed necessary.

These Curacao licensed online casinos crossed a line when they began to target the Dutch market. They drew the ire of Dutch Minister for Legal Protection, Sander Dekker, in leading him to say:

“The cabinet takes the concerns about illegal gaming in Curaçao seriously and is committed to limiting the illegal offering of online casino games of chance from Curaçao.”

While Curacao is fiscally independent of the Netherlands, they are a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This relationship means that they took the cabinet’s concerns over these faux Dutch casinos seriously enough to make widespread changes to their regulations.

A new gambling authority is born

To address the shortcomings of the country’s current gambling regulation regarding Dutch online casinos, the Curaçao Council of Ministers has approved a new bill outlining a complete legal overhaul and the institution of a new independent control body, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA).

One of the primary functions of the CGA will be to control the issuance of B2C and B2B licenses. Giving the CGA authority over licensing and empowering them to revoke licenses when necessary is seen as a significant step toward raising the credibility of Curacao as a trusted online gambling jurisdiction.

Curaçao Finance Minister Javier Silvania said:

“The new bill ensures the monitoring is under the control of the government. It is important for the government to know who has licenses because, at this point, it is not always clear who holds one.”

The CGA will cooperate with other established gambling regulators to address issues such as blacklisting operators who target markets illegally and implementing cross-border anti-money laundering (AML) protocols.

What does this mean for operators and players?

While the new gambling regulation has not been made available for public review, the Curacao Finance Minister addressed some of the key highlights of the new bill.

According to Silvania, the most notable operator-facing changes include:

  • The government will now have complete oversight of who holds a Curacao license
  • Operators will have to have at least three key personnel in Curacao
  • Operators will have to implement provable AML protocols

The new bill will ensure that players can look forward to:

  • An increased focus on fair play and player safety
  • Gambling sites will be held accountable for paying all winnings in full

When the question of whether these updates could cause existing online casinos to leave Curacao, former Malta Gaming Authority chief executive Mario Galea responded:

“I have no issue at all with companies leaving Curaçao… The companies we want to remain are bona fide ones that comply with the rules – that’s the sort of company we want in Curaçao.”

Should the CGA achieve all that has been outlined, even in these initial discussions, 2022 could be the year that we see Curacao transform from a sideline jurisdiction to a serious player in the world of online gambling.

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