Curaçao stands as a renowned online gaming hub, with hundreds of companies holding licenses, thanks to the island’s straightforward application process. However, the landscape changed in September 2023 with the introduction of a new Compliance Ordinance on Games of Chance. To navigate these updated regulations and learn how to obtain a license while ensuring compliance, read on. We have prepared a step-by-step guide to assist you.
The Curaçao Gaming License and Online Gambling Industry
Curaçao’s economy is significantly reliant on its iGaming industry, a sector that gained legitimacy through the National Ordinance on Offshore Hazards in 1996. Over nearly 30 years, Curaçao has streamlined the process of issuing gaming licenses for companies. Unlike many other jurisdictions, the process here is straightforward and doesn’t demand substantial investments. This has firmly established Curaçao as the destination of choice for companies seeking gaming licenses.
Meet the Regulators
In Curaçao, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) holds the reins for licensing and supervising the online gaming sector, acting on behalf of the Minister of Finance. It serves as the principal licensing authority and supervises Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) activities in the gaming industry.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a specialized unit within the Ministry of Finance, manages information related to money laundering and terrorist financing.
A pivotal development in September 2023 was the establishment of the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) through the Compliance Ordinance on Games of Chance. The CGA wields the power to grant licenses, enforce the law, and ensure impartial oversight in regulatory implementation.
The Advantages of Holding a Gaming License in Curaçao
Obtaining a gaming license is more than a compliance requirement; it’s a testament to a company’s credibility and an endorsement of the iGaming industry’s reputation. It signifies legitimacy and trustworthiness when it comes to financial transactions.
In Curaçao, securing a gaming license comes with several benefits:
Speed: Authorities can issue a license within a few weeks of receiving an application. All-in-One: The gaming license encompasses all types of gaming activities, simplifying a company’s ability to diversify its service offerings. Taxation: Companies enjoy favorable tax rates, including 0% corporate income tax and a 2% tax on net gains. The government of Curaçao is actively working on further streamlining the licensing process, which will potentially reduce associated costs. The exact timeline for these changes remains uncertain, but FACEKI will closely track these developments. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on licensing requirements in Curaçao.
Understanding License Types
Curaçao offers two primary license types:
· Land-Based Casinos (National Ordinance Curaçao Casino Sector (AB 1999, no. 97))
· Online Gaming (National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (Landsverordening buitengaatse hazardspelen, P.B. 1993, no. 63))
AML Requirements for Obtaining a Curaçao Online Gaming License
While obtaining a license in Curaçao is relatively straightforward, businesses must meet specific requirements set by the licensor. This includes:
· Compliance with Customer Due Diligence (CDD)
· Implementation of a Know Your Customer (KYC) solution
· Identification and Reporting of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs)
Insights into 2023 Updates
The Landsverordening op de Kansspelen (LOK), known as the Curaçao National Ordinance on Games of Chance, came into effect in September 2023. This updated regulation applies to all gambling activities, encompassing aspects such as prohibited gambling, license issuance and control (including provisional licenses), and measures to promote responsible gambling.
The primary objectives of the LOK include:
· Preventing and Combating Criminal Activities
· Protecting Participants
· Preventing and Combating Gambling Addiction and Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons, Including Minors
· Preserving Curaçao’s International Reputation, especially in the iGaming Industry
Another significant change in 2023 was the establishment of the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA), which will be responsible for granting licenses, ensuring prompt law enforcement, and offering impartial oversight in regulatory implementation.
Applying for a License
Once a company is certain of its compliance with the regulations, it must prepare the necessary documentation for license issuance by the Governor of Curaçao or another authorized party (e.g., master licensee). The individual applying on behalf of the company should provide:
· Copy of Passport
· Certificate of Good Conduct
· Bank Reference Letter
· Utility Bill
· Police Clearance Certificate
· Professional Reference Letter
· Proof of Domain Ownership
· Details of Used Software
· Copy of Terms and Conditions
After the submission of these documents, a company can expect to obtain a license within six weeks.
In conclusion, Curaçao offers a straightforward path to obtaining a gaming license, with significant advantages. However, businesses must adhere to specific requirements, and it’s essential to stay updated with the evolving regulations in this dynamic landscape.