Curaçao LBH License

October 30, 2023

CURAÇAO: the transition into a directly supervised government license

– how to apply for the NOOGH license

OUTLINE:

1. Pictogram of the transition process

Pictogram-step-by-step guide to Curaçao's changing licensing process

2. APPLICATION OF THE CURAÇAO NOOGH LICENSE

Background

Since 1993 the Government of Curaçao has been authorized by National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard to grant online gaming licenses (pursuant to the Landsverordening buitengaatse hazardspelen, P.B. 1993, no. 63) (NOOGH), initially granted by the Minister of Justice; and subsequently thereafter the following events have occurred:

  1. in 2019 the Minister of Finance was tasked with the licensing for- and the supervision of the online gaming sector on behalf of the Governor of Curaçao;
  2. since March 2020, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) has been tasked with the licensing for- and supervision of the online gaming sector on behalf of the Minister of Finance;
  3. since March 2020, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) has been tasked with the licensing for- and supervision of the online gaming sector on behalf of the Minister of Finance.
  4. on February 15, 2019, the GCB was appointed the AML/CFT supervisor for all gaming sectors operating in and from Curaçao, which includes the online gaming sector.

Currently, there are five (5) known active NOOGH licenses, whereby four cater to the ecosystem of sub-licensing, referring to themselves as Master License Holders:
(i) Antillephone (APS),
(ii) Curacao E-Gaming (CEG),
(iii) Gaming Curacao (GC) and
(iv) Curacao Interactive Licensing (CIL).


Who can apply for an NOOGH license?

New Applicants

As per November 15, subject to the choice of the applicant’s desire to obtain a license to operate a game of chance in Curacao, the Government of Curacao will accept new applications for the NOOGH License; this implies that the Government of Curacao will issue new licenses under the existing legislation (LBH) to B2C operators (only) for a term of one (1) year subject to the expected LOK enactment.

NOOGH Conditions

Conditions of the NOOGH license allow GCB to create regulatory policies for licensing and supervision; the basis for these conditions will be focused on:

  1. The prevention of criminal activities.
  2. The protection of players
  3. The prevention/limitation of gambling addiction.


Benefits

  1. Automatic transition:

Based on the expectations of the Minister of Finance, operators offering online gaming activities directly with an NOOGH license will be granted (by operation of law) a provisional LOK license for the duration of six (6) months; and if required, this provisional permit can be legally extended for an additional period of six (6) months thereafter.

  1. No application fee:

No application fees. The registration is completely free of charge.


How to apply for an NOOGH license?

Application Process

The application process of the NOOGH license will be made available by the GCB through an online portal. This portal will contain application forms and relevant information, including application and registration requirements. The application process will consist of two (2) phases:

  • The pre-licensing phase – background checks on the UBOs, Directors and Key Persons; business due diligence; critical policies and procedures; and
  • The post-licensing phase – supervision of licensed operators, audited policies, and procedures within 6 months, Investigation into the integrity of new UBOs, directors and key persons, and critical incident reports.

Any party that falls within the following objectives can apply for the NOOGH license:

  • Player Management: registration and verification of players; and
  • Funds Management: engaging in financial transactions, manage player’s funds (deposit and withdrawals)

Pertaining to the complete application, the term of the decision will be made within two months; whereby the validity period will be for one year from the date of issuance subject to the intended LOK enactment. All approved applicants will receive a dynamic seal which is to be placed on all approved websites to validate the license.

In the event an applicant for an NOOGH license is denied an objection can be filed to the Minister/GCB within 6 weeks of the decision; lodging an appeal with the court within 6 weeks of that decision.


Requirements

Within the online portal, NOOGH applicants will be required to complete the following three (3) application forms :

  1. Online Gaming Application Form – this form must be completed by the official representative of the Company and will consist of questions related to information on the legal company, activities, suppliers, and policies.
  2. Personal History Disclosure Form – this form must be completed by every qualifying person of the Company and will consist of questions related to KYC of the ultimate beneficial owners, and
  3. Corporate and Business Disclosure Form – this form must be completed by every qualifying person of the Company and will consist of questions related to company, representatives, shareholders, Business Activities and Source of Funding

Upon handling of the license application, the GCB will focus on:

  1. the integrity of the applicant, its ultimate beneficial owners, its holders of a qualifying interest, its statutory directors, its managing directors and its compliance officers;
  2. the financial integrity of the applicants organization.
  3. delivery channels and their accessibility from the players’ standpoint.

It’s important to take note that only legal entities incorporated under the laws of Curaçao, with a registered office in Curaçao, can apply for an NOOGH license.

 

Fees

The NOOGH license fee will be ANG 120,000 (approx. EUR 63,000) annually, payable in monthly installments of ANG 10,000 (approx. EUR 5,200) per month, for the listing of 40 domains/licenses.


How to get started?

To get started, please contact [email protected] for more details on how to set up your legal entity and apply for the NOOGH/LBH license.

3. Timeline

Timeline of the pictogram

September 1, 2023 – opening registration portal GCB

  • Applicants can apply for NOOGH license as per November 15.
  • Existing (sub)licensees must register only online.

April (Q2), 2024 – expected enactment of the LOK legislation
March, 2024 – existing sub-licensees must apply for LOK license within 3 months of the enactment; all sub-licensees operating under an NOOGH 'Master' license umbrella must seize operations 9 months after the LOK enactment upon approval of the LOK license application
March, 2024 – 6 month LOK temporary license granted automatically to existing NOOGH licensees, or to LOK license application with minor amendments, with the ability to extend for an additional 6 months.
September 2024 – All exemptions to the LOK will end, thus assuring that all active iGaming activities operate under a LOK license or activities seized immediately.

Hear from our Curaçao Client Director, Arran McCarthy, as he shares important insights about the legislative changes in Curaçao at the recent SiGMA conference.

Written by Arran McCarthy

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