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Curaçao is taking new steps to enhance the oversight and legitimacy of its online gambling industry. The Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) has now initiated the application process for new online gambling licenses. This measure “aims to benefit foreign regulators seeking better control over Curaçao-based offshore operators that have been offering illegal gambling services worldwide,” the regulator stated.
As of September 1, operators can access license application forms from the GCB’s new online portal. This portal offers a comprehensive guide for applicants, providing detailed information about the licensing procedure. Downloads and guidance notes are also available.
The opening of the portal comes as Curaçao prepares for the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK). This law will change how foreign online gambling operators are licensed in the jurisdiction.
The submission of completed license applications is set to begin in November 2023, affording operators time to prepare and submit their documentation for consideration. Existing license holders will automatically transition to the new system. Concurrently, companies holding existing sub-licenses will also need to apply alongside new operators but will have the opportunity to maintain their operations.
After November, businesses that have submitted their applications will receive provisional licenses. These licensing updates will complement existing legislation, allowing for a more adaptable response to emerging challenges.
“Strengthening the license application process is expected to attract a wider range of operators interested in operating within Curaçao, signifying a shift toward a more transparent gambling sector,” Curaçao Chronicle pointed out.
The LOK is set to be monumental for a market once considered to be passive when it came to regulation. In July 2022, after it was noted that the new, higher licensing standards could see operators withdraw from the jurisdiction, Javier Silvania, Curaçao’s Finance Minister, said he saw “no issue” with the matter.
Curaçao’s current law mandates operators to apply to one of four existing master licensees to receive a sub-license. Once the LOK comes into force, sub-licensees will have three months to submit a new application with the GCB for a direct operator license.
At iGB L!VE in July, Sixiènne Jansen, legal advisor to Curaçao’s Ministry of Finance, detailed how the new licensing regime would work. She also outlined the application process, which consists of three forms. Each of the forms will require relevant supporting documentation.
The first is an online gaming application, in which the applicant will provide projections for business operations and strategic targets. The second is a personal declaration, detailing information about key figures involved in the business.
A source of funds checks will be carried out on any involved person with more than 10% control of the business. The final form consists of corporate and business disclosures.