July 18, 2023 –WILLEMSTAD – The Ministry of Finance has revealed its plans for the island’s licensing regime as the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) approaches implementation. The LOK was proposed to reform Curaçao’s gambling regulations following a request from the Netherlands government in 2020.
The current licensing process requires operators to obtain a sub-license from one of the four existing master license holders. However, the government intends to phase out this system by implementing the LOK. Although the legislation has yet to be submitted to parliament, new licenses with enhanced obligations will be issued from 1 September.
To ensure continuity for current licensees, all master licenses will be extended for an additional year. The ministry assures that no operators will experience interruptions or disruptions to their business during this transition. The aim is to facilitate uninterrupted operations for all sub-license holders.
Once the LOK comes into force, all sub-licensees will have a 90-day period to apply for a new license, regardless of the remaining term of the master license. During the application process, the old regulations will still apply for up to nine months after the LOK’s implementation.
From 1 September, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) will begin issuing licenses directly to operators. These licenses will be granted under the current legislation and will automatically convert to LOK licenses. They will include provisions addressing anti-money laundering and responsible gambling obligations.
Existing master license holders will still be allowed to issue sub-licenses in accordance with the current legislation after 1 September. The licensees themselves will determine the processing of sub-license applications that are in progress or on hold.
The legal advisor to the Curaçao Ministry of Finance, Sixiènne Jansen, emphasized that there have been no changes to the legislation or permissions since the announcement of the new legislation in November. The ministry’s only difference on 1 September will be issuing new licenses.
The license application process after 1 September will involve completing three forms: an online gaming application, a personal declaration, and corporate disclosures. These forms require operators to provide information on their business operations, key individuals, and Curaçao-based corporate details. The ministry plans to outline the fee structure of the new licensing regime in September. It expects licenses to adhere to international standards, including player protection, anti-money laundering procedures, responsible gaming measures, and robust security setups.
Curaçao’s new licensing regime aims to provide a transparent and regulated environment for operators, ensuring compliance with international standards while safeguarding player interests and maintaining the integrity of the jurisdiction.