The picturesque island of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean Sea has long been a hub for online gambling operators. With its tropical allure and a well-established online gambling industry, Curaçao is now modernizing its gambling legislation to meet international standards. You can read our past updates via here and here.
The upcoming Landsverordening op de kansspelen (LOK), or the Gambling Ordinance, will usher in a new era of online gambling regulation on the island. In anticipation of this landmark legislation, the Minister of Finance of Curaçao has resumed the issuance of licenses under the existing National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (NOOGH). This move aims to facilitate a smooth transition for operators from the current legal framework to the forthcoming LOK.
The new rules for obtaining a Curacao online gaming license are outlined to accommodate two primary categories of applicants:
These are operators who seek to acquire an online gaming license directly from the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) under the current NOOGH regulations.
This category includes operators currently offering online gaming services in Curaçao under a contractual agreement with an existing license holder. They have the option to apply for a Curacao online gaming license under either the current NOOGH regulations or the future LOK.
The portal shall open for registrations on November 1, 2023.
The regulations governing the issuance of Curacao online gaming licenses are guided by internationally accepted objectives aimed at fostering a secure and responsible online gambling environment. These objectives include:
a) Prevention of Fraud and Illegal Activities
Efforts are made to prevent fraudulent activities and other illegal actions associated with games of chance.
b) Player Protection
Ensuring the safety and protection of players, including minors, and ensuring prompt payment of player winnings.
c) Prevention of Gambling Addiction
Implementing measures to prevent gambling addiction and protect vulnerable individuals, such as minors.
To meet these objectives, licensed operators must adhere to specific criteria:
Based on these principles, the GCB has the authority to grant, suspend, or revoke licenses and impose conditions and restrictions to ensure the safe, responsible, transparent, and reliable operation of games of chance in or from Curaçao.
To be eligible for a Curacao online gaming license, applicants must meet specific criteria:
Applicants must complete and submit the following forms:
The GCB focuses on assessing the integrity of the applicant, ultimate beneficial owners, qualifying interest holders, statutory directors, managing directors, and compliance officers. Financial integrity and the accessibility of delivery channels from the player’s standpoint are also evaluated.
The GCB aims to decide on license applications within two months of receiving complete and compliant submissions. Licensees are granted licenses with a maximum validity of one year, subject to earlier revocation or transitional provisions under future Curaçao laws.
License holders are subject to various conditions, which apply universally and may also include specific conditions tailored to individual license holders based on their unique circumstances.
Licensees are required to pay fees set by national decree as outlined in the NOOGH regulations. Although the new legislation is not yet published, we anticipate the fees to be around €49,385. These costs can be spread out through monthly instalments of around €4,115. We have derived these numbers from the current applicable legislation, however, it may be subject to change once LOK is published.
Applicants must use the latest versions of the Online Gaming Application Form, Business and Corporate Information Form, and Personal History Disclosure Form, all of the forms are available on the official registration portal.
These forms must be completed digitally and signed using digital signatures. Handwritten forms are not accepted. Some forms require additional documents, and applications will not be processed until all information is complete and accurate.
Once granted, the license specifies several key provisions:
Licensed operators in Curaçao must fulfill various responsibilities and obligations, including:
You can find the full list of conditions here.
All games offered by license holders must be certified for fairness by independent testing laboratories. Games provided by third-party providers must also be certified. Proof of certification must be submitted to the GCB within specified timelines.
Licensees are required to make their general terms and conditions accessible to players. These terms must be clear, unambiguous, and cover various aspects, including amendments, player obligations, and dispute resolution.
License holders are obligated to establish transparent, simple, and free procedures for handling player complaints, ensuring they are easily accessible. They must also provide players with the ability to set playing and deposit limits and allow self-exclusion.
Marketing and advertising activities must be honest and not target minors or problem gamblers. Responsible gaming policies and procedures must be in place, subject to audit by the GCB.
Licensees are required to maintain separate records for licensed games of chance, ensuring transparency and compliance with the law. Annual accounts must be submitted to the GCB by a specified date. If necessary, interim reports may be requested.
License holders must provide the GCB with information and reports necessary for supervision, including change reports and incident reports. Incident reports must be submitted within 24 hours of any relevant incident.
The GCB has the authority to suspend or revoke licenses under various circumstances, including violations of the law, license conditions, or financial obligations. Licensees are entitled to a hearing before any suspension or revocation decision is made.
Supervisors designated by the GCB have the authority to request information, access records, and conduct investigations to ensure compliance with the law. Cooperation with these supervisors is mandatory.
Curaçao is taking significant steps to modernize and enhance its online gaming regulation. With the forthcoming LOK, the island aims to align its gaming laws with international standards and expectations. In the meantime, the resumption of license issuance under the existing NOOGH regulations allows operators to continue their activities while preparing for the transition to the new legal framework.
Therefore, although the final legislation has not been published yet, current and new operators can register through the portal starting from the 1st of November, 2023. We advise our clients interested in the transitional period in Curacao to contact us to discuss your registration with the new Regulator.
The National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) has been officially submitted to Parliament and the Minister of Finance has initiated a sequence of procedures to facilitate a seamless transition from the existing framework to the new system upon the law’s enactment. Licenses under the new framework (issued by NOOGH…
General information Alderney is the third largest of the British Channel Islands and is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The British Channel Islands are self-governing British Crown dependencies; however they are not part of the UK or EU. Alderney is one of the few exceptions to the UK Gambling…
General information Gibraltar is a British overseas territory at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. A unique destination that offers a combination of the Mediterranean lifestyle, low taxes and access to Europe and Africa. Gibraltar is an ideal jurisdiction to obtain an offshore gambling license. The Gibraltar regulator has…