The new legislation, known as the National Gambling Ordinance (LOK), is currently under review by the Advisory Council and is expected to introduce more rigorous rules in the gambling industry, focusing on anti-money laundering measures, fraud prevention, and player protection.
Minister Silvania emphasized the importance of transparency and compliance, demanding operators to adhere to legislation that meets the minimum requirements of international laws and guidelines regarding money laundering. Curaçao aims to ensure a level playing field for operators and suppliers by collaborating with reputable jurisdictions.
A crucial development under the LOK is the establishment of a new supervisory authority, the Curaçao Gaming Authority. This authority’s primary objective is not only to prevent illegal activities but also to actively curb them. The minister highlighted that Curaçao intends to move away from its previous reputation as a permissive licensing hub in the gambling industry.
As part of the transition process, all master licenses will be extended for an additional year to ensure continuity and avoid disruption for current licensees. This extension will not impact the operations of existing licensees, allowing them to continue their businesses seamlessly.
Once the LOK comes into force, all sub-licensees will have a 90-day deadline to apply for a new license, irrespective of the remaining term of the master license. During the application process, the old regulations will apply for up to nine months after the LOK’s implementation, providing a transitional period for operators to comply with the new requirements.
New License Issuance
Starting from September 1st, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) will issue licenses directly to operators under the current legislation, rather than the LOK. These licenses will grant operators the right to operate gambling activities but will not authorize them to offer sub-licenses. Notably, the new licenses will incorporate provisions that address anti-money laundering (AML) and responsible gambling obligations, further enhancing the regulatory framework
The application process for new licenses will involve three key forms that operators need to complete. First, the online gaming application will require operators to provide an analysis of their business operations, including marketing strategies, distribution plans, and growth targets. Second, the personal declaration form will involve identifying key individuals in the business who hold 10% or more control, along with providing details of their source of wealth, source of funds, and verifiable identity information. Finally, the corporate disclosures form will necessitate Curaçao businesses to provide specific details to the GCB.
Audited Policies and Procedures
Within six months of obtaining a license, operators will need to submit audited policies and procedures for evaluation. These policies and procedures must adhere to international standards and cover essential aspects such as player protection, AML procedures, know your customer (KYC) requirements, responsible gaming measures, and robust technical and information security setups.
The ministry has further updates planned for September, including outlining the fee structure of the new regime, providing additional clarity for operators. The implementation of stricter standards under the National Gambling Ordinance (LOK) demonstrates Curaçao’s commitment to combating money laundering, ensuring transparency, and preserving the integrity of the gambling industry. By extending master licenses, introducing a transitional period, and streamlining the license application process, Curaçao aims to facilitate a smooth transition for operators while elevating the jurisdiction’s reputation as a responsible and reputable hub for online gambling.
To facilitate a smooth transition, existing operators will be allowed to continue their business uninterrupted. The Gambling Control Board (GCB) will launch a dedicated portal to streamline the license application process, simplifying the procedures for operators seeking to comply with the new regime.
While most operators with a Curaçao license already maintain integrity and follow good practices, Minister Silvania cautioned that past abuses of Curaçao’s reputation should not be forgotten. The implementation of stricter standards aims to address these concerns, promote a higher level of professionalism, and preserve the integrity of the entire gambling industry.
Following the September 1st deadline, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board will directly issue licenses to operators under the current legislation, which will automatically convert to licenses granted under the LOK. Notably, existing master license holders will still be permitted to issue sub-licenses under the current legislation.
Operators seeking new licenses will need to complete three forms: the online gaming application, the personal declaration, and corporate disclosures. The online gaming application will require operators to provide an analysis of their business operations, including marketing strategies, distribution plans, and growth targets. The personal declaration will involve identifying key individuals in the business, while corporate disclosures will require providing business details specific to Curaçao.
The new licenses issued under the LOK will be subject to international standards, including player protection, dynamic anti-money laundering procedures, know your customer (KYC) requirements, responsible gaming measures, and robust technical and information security setups. Within six months of obtaining a license, operators will need to submit audited policies and procedures for evaluation.
In conclusion, Curaçao’s implementation of stricter standards under the National Gambling Ordinance (LOK) signifies its commitment to transparency, compliance, and safeguarding the interests of players, while we should still expect further updates in September, including outlining the fee structure of the new regime, providing additional clarity for operators. The establishment of the Curaçao Gaming Authority and the collaboration with reputable jurisdictions aims to elevate Curaçao’s standing in the global gambling industry. With a seamless transition process for existing operators and streamlined license application procedures, Curaçao seeks to uphold integrity, prevent illegal activities, and ensure a fair and responsible gambling environment while elevating the jurisdiction’s reputation as a responsible and reputable hub for online gambling.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, not to be considered as a legal consultation.