Curaçao’s iGaming Evolution: New Licensing Portal, Regulatory Shifts, and the Road to 2024

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Written By iGaming

iGaming Express, a dedicated team of gambling experts proudly serving the Industry since 2014 

During a presentation hosted by the Gaming Control Board of Curaçao (GCB) on August 15, it was unveiled that the anticipated new gambling legislation in Curaçao, referred to as the Landsverordening op de Kansspelen (LOK), is forecasted for a mid-2024 introduction. As of now, the LOK’s draft remains within the legislative channels, with no accompanying secondary legislation or regulations presented to the public.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Digital Transformation: The creation of an online portal aims to revolutionize the license application process for online gambling ventures, making it swifter and more user-friendly. This innovation arrives at an opportune time, given the explosive growth observed in the global iGaming sector.
  2. Curaçao’s Initiative: Recognized as a pivotal player in the iGaming domain, Curaçao has demonstrated its commitment to refining its regulatory framework. A significant manifestation of this is the forthcoming license application portal, set to be operational from 1 November 2023. This strategic decision seeks to optimize the licensing procedure, enhance legal adherence, and consolidate Curaçao’s stature as a coveted destination for online gambling enterprises.
  3. Shift in Regulatory Landscape: Amid the frenetic pace of the iGaming sector’s growth, regulatory entities worldwide have intensified their efforts to ensure the sector remains safe, just, and transparent. Curaçao, lauded for its adaptive licensing approach, has underscored the necessity of augmenting its regulatory blueprint both to appeal to esteemed operators and safeguard end-users. This resolve was influenced, in part, by The Netherlands’ advocacy for more robust and rigorous iGaming oversight in Curaçao. Subsequent reforms will witness the phasing out of the master license/sub-license model, centralization of applications, and amplified compliance criteria.
  4. Interim Licensing Path: While comprehensive revisions to the current master license/sub-license structure are underway, operators can, from 15 November, avail the novel license application portal for Curaçao licensing, bypassing a master license holder’s need. Licenses accorded through this portal, even prior to the new regulations taking effect, will be termed “LBH licenses.” This offers a compelling proposition for newcomers reluctant to engage with the existing system and then navigate the impending 2024 legislative changes.

Navigating these waters may appear daunting. However, rest assured, iGaming Express is primed to support you at every juncture, whether you’re considering the current master license route, exploring the new portal, or strategizing for post-2024 scenarios.

We can help you obtain your Curacao Gambling License

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Advantages of the Curacao iGaming License

The Curacao iGaming license offers a range of advantages that make it a sought-after credential for gaming operators:

  • Global Market Access: One of the standout benefits of the Curacao license is its ability to open doors to a broad international market. Licensed operators are well-positioned to cater to players from diverse regions, enhancing their global footprint and boosting business growth prospects. This worldwide recognition has progressively solidified Curacao’s status as a premier licensing jurisdiction.
  • Robust Regulatory Oversight: Curacao’s licensing framework is anchored in stringent compliance. License holders are subject to rigorous reporting and auditing protocols, championing an ethos of openness and responsibility. The Curacao Gaming Control Board remains vigilant, ensuring operators consistently uphold the pinnacle of ethical conduct.
  • Efficiency with the LBH License: The forthcoming LBH license holds appeal for new entrants in Curacao. Instead of navigating dual applications – first with a master license holder and later with the government in 2024 – businesses can streamline their efforts. Although the LBH license may come with a higher fee compared to a sublicense, it compensates by waiving the application fee, a feature anticipated in the LOK 2024.
  • Forward Planning for Existing Operators: Current license holders will find value in procuring a government-issued license now. This proactive approach sidesteps potential delays and uncertainties slated for 2024 when the entire industry will be vying for licenses, ensuring they remain ahead of the curve.

Eligibility Criteria for a Curacao iGaming License

Under the newly instated regime, potential applicants for a Curacao iGaming License fall into two distinct categories:

  • Direct License Applicants: Those aiming to secure a Curacao iGaming license directly from the Curacao authorities in line with the updated regulations.
  • Registered Operators: Operators who are presently licensed under the preceding regime, for instance, sublicense holders. These entities will be granted the opportunity to transition and apply for a license aligned with the new regulations.

To qualify for a license, applicants must consistently fulfill several essential criteria:

  • Security and Safety: Ensure that games are offered through equipment and systems safeguarded against potential threats, including viruses, hacking, cyber-attacks, and other online criminal activities.
  • Responsible Gaming: Adopt a principled stance towards players, ensuring they are treated equitably, and instituting measures to prevent addiction, underage gambling, and to protect vulnerable participants.
  • Operational Integrity: Maintain a stable operation, act with unwavering integrity, and guarantee compliance with anti-money laundering guidelines and counter-terrorism financing provisions.
  • Transparency: Ensure that all operations are conducted transparently, are easily accessible to relevant parties, and are managed with utmost propriety.

Curacao New Regulations and Guidelines

Curacao-licensed operators are obligated to strictly adhere to the following regulations and guidelines:

  1. Service Restrictions: Operators must refrain from offering services to the following groups:
    • Company employees
    • Individuals under the age of 18
    • Residents of Curacao
    • Those who have proactively chosen self-exclusion from gaming activities.
  2. Financial Management:
    • Players must not be permitted to maintain a negative balance.
  3. Personnel and Structural Changes: Prior approval from the licensing authorities is mandated for any changes involving key personnel or structural shifts.
  4. Security Commitment: Operators are expected to ardently uphold a secure gaming environment. Adherence to robust information security protocols, processes, and regular audits—as specified by the regulatory body—is non-negotiable.
  5. Game Certification: All games made available by operators must undergo certification from a neutral, third-party testing laboratory. These certifications are to be submitted to the authorities during the license application and must be periodically updated.
  6. Transparency in T&Cs: The platform should conspicuously display all terms and conditions, encompassing player obligations, mechanisms for dispute resolution, and procedures for making amendments.
  7. Player Grievance Redressal: Operators should have in place a straightforward, cost-free, and transparent mechanism for addressing player complaints. Players should have the autonomy to self-exclude and determine their gaming and deposit thresholds.
  8. Marketing and Fair Play:
    • Marketing efforts directed towards minors or individuals with gambling problems are strictly prohibited.
    • Integrity and fairness in operations are paramount.
  9. Responsible Gaming Oversight: All protocols related to responsible gaming are open to audit and scrutiny by the licensing authorities.
  10. Record Keeping:
    • Distinct records for games of chance must be diligently maintained to ensure complete transparency and compliance.
    • Annual financial statements are mandatory, with the provision for authorities to request interim reports as needed.
    • Operators are expected to promptly provide all information requisitioned by the authorities. Any incident reports must be submitted within a 24-hour window.

By abiding by these standards, operators ensure a secure, transparent, and responsible gaming environment for all stakeholders.

Curacao License Application Process & Requirements

Pursuant to the updated regulations, the Curacao iGaming license application must be processed through the official online portal. If needed, iGaming Express can facilitate this procedure on your behalf. Key requirements are as follows:

  1. Incorporation & Local Presence:
    • Applicants must establish a legal entity compliant with Curacao regulations and maintain a registered local office.
  2. Submission of Documents:
    • Complete the Online Gaming License Application Form.
    • Fill out the Business and Corporate Disclosure Form.
    • Provide the Personal History Disclosure Form.

Post-submission, the regulatory authorities will initiate a comprehensive assessment, focusing on:

  • Integrity and Suitability Evaluation: Scrutiny of the applicant encompasses a wide spectrum of key personnel, including beneficial owners, interest holders, directors, managing directors, and compliance officers.
  • Platform’s Financial Integrity: An in-depth appraisal of the platform’s financial stability and trustworthiness.

Please note that under certain circumstances, specific operators might be subject to additional requirements.

Timeline and Validity: Applications typically undergo evaluation over a span of two months. Once approved, licenses are issued with a one-year validity, subject to renewal. Currently, the precise cost details for the application have not been publicly disclosed.

Step into Curaçao’s Gaming Future with IGaming Express!

Curaçao is rapidly evolving its online gaming regulations, propelling its standards to align with global benchmarks. Amid these changes, iGaming Express shines as a beacon of expertise and reliability. As one of Curacao’s premier service providers, we’re here to ensure your gaming operations move seamlessly into the future.

From November 1st, 2023, the digital gateway is open for all – whether you’re an established operator or just diving into this vibrant world. Our unparalleled assistance extends from the intricacies of licensing to tailored corporate services and guidance across different jurisdictions.

So, as Curaçao embarks on this new chapter in online gaming, let’s chart this course together. Your ambition. Our expertise. A winning combo. Connect with iGaming Express now – because your triumph is our mission!

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