Further changes to the Curaçao NOOGH license
The Curaçao government is realizing a complete reform and modernization of its (online) gambling legislation through a new law named the Landsverordening op de Kansspelen (LOK). In anticipation of the enforcement of the LOK, the Minister of Finance of Curaçao has decided to resume issuing licenses under the current law, the National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (Landsverordening buitengaatse hazardspelen, P.B. 1993, no. 63) (NOOGH). With this, the Minister of Finance wishes to create a transition framework to contribute to a smooth transition from existing laws to new ones.
Considering the information above, this portal is intended for:
- The application for an online gaming license under the NOOGH by operators that wish to acquire an online gaming license directly from the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB); and
- The registration of operators currently offering online gaming in Curaçao is based on a contractual agreement with an existing license holder who wishes to acquire a Curaçao online gaming license under current or future Curaçao law.
As of November 15, 2023, the GCB has started accepting and processing online gaming license applications from operators wishing to acquire an online gaming license directly from the GCB. This license will only be offered to Curaçao based companies with an objective towards online gaming activities.
As per the article published October 30, 2023 (A step-by-step guide to Curaçao's changing licensing process), further changes have been disclosed, as follows:
What we expected before November 15, 2023
Please find hereunder a list of former expectations:
- It was expected that both NOOGH licensee and sub-licensee holders would obtain a pre- and post-LOK transitional period upon the enactment of the LOK.
- The fees related to a NOOGH license would be an annual fee of ANG 120,000/ per year (≈ EUR 60.000), payable at ANG 10,000.- per month (≈ EUR 5.000).
- A LOK license will be limited to a renewal term of 5 years.
- Forms related to the GCB’s online portal, in consideration of the registration of operators currently offering online gaming in Curaçao based on a contractual agreement with an existing license holder, require authorization/consent by the UBOs. This includes the application for an online gaming license pursuant to the NOOGH.
- A license will be limited to 40 (main) domains, and an additional license and fee will be required for 40+ domains.
What we now know after November 15, 2023
Please find hereunder a list of new expectations:
- As per the enactment of the LOK, to facilitate timing/process and player transition, the existing NOOGH licenses will be grandfathered into the LOK but without the right to sublicense. This implies that all existing NOOGH licensees will have the right to conduct business as an operator under the LOK in accordance with their registered domains. Operators currently under the eco-system of offering online gaming in Curaçao based on a contractual agreement (sub-license) with an existing NOOGH license holder (master licensee) will no longer have a valid Curaçao online gaming license.
- The process of reforming and modernizing Curaçao (online) gambling legislation through the LOK is expected to be approved in Q1 of 2024. However, the enactment of the LOK is expected in Q3 of 2024. This process will allow licensees the time to register and apply for the license before the enactment, which will ultimately eradicate the sub-licensing ecosystem without transition.
- Any existing NOOGH licensee will be grandfathered into the LOK.
- GCB will recognize any registrations at the GCB portal as per the passing of the LOK.
- LOK licenses are issued indefinitely, subject to active ongoing monitoring rather than periodic renewal.
- The fees related to the NOOGH license will remain at an annual fee of ANG 120,000 per year (≈ EUR 60,000;-). However, the payment of the license fee will now conclude the following:
- ANG 36.000.- on granting of the license, as further stipulated by the GCB (≈ EUR 18.000);
- ANG 7.000.- per month, as of the first month, as further specified by the GCB (≈ EUR 3.500).
These fees are subject to pre- and post-LOK changes and are subject to the type of activity: B2C and B2B.
- A LOK license will have an unlimited listing of (main) domains, including subdomains, but will be subject to further fees.
- Any entity that wants to continue business post-LOK will require a license; this includes a license granted or an application in the system by the time the LOK is enacted.
- Forms related to the GCB’s online portal, in consideration of the registration of operators currently offering online gaming in Curaçao based on a contractual agreement with an existing license holder, require authorization/consent by the authorized party only.
Please find hereunder an updated pictogram of the transition process.
September 1, 2023 – opening registration portal GCB
- Applicants can apply for a NOOGH license as of November 15.
- Existing (sub)licensees must register only online.
January (Q1), 2024 – expected passing of the LOK legislation in parliament.
September 2024 – enactment of the LOK. All exemptions to the LOK will end, thus assuring that all active iGaming activities operate under an LOK license or activities seized immediately.