August 26, 2023

Major legislative developments in Curaçao

In this Edition

Stay updated with the latest developments and opportunities in Curaçao's business landscape. In this edition of the EM Group newsletter, we bring you important insights and updates on the following topics:

Latest news on legislative changes in Curaçao

In a presentation given by the Gaming Control Board of Curaçao (GCB) on August 15, it was announced that the enactment of the long-awaited new gambling legislation in Curaçao (Landsverordening op de Kansspelen, LOK) is expected in mid-2024. The current draft of the LOK is still going through the legislative process, and no draft of supporting (lower) legislation and regulation has been made public so far.

Evolution of sublicenses and Master License holders

Until the enactment of the LOK 2024, the current practice of sublicenses issued by master license holders will be continued as usual and new licenses can be issued at the discretion of the master license holders. Once the LOK is enacted, a transition arrangement will become effective, allowing operators to continue their operation if they apply for a new license under the LOK.

Government-issued licenses as of September 1

The GCB announced a pivotal change which will take effect from 1 September 2023, which date has since been pushed forward to 15 November 2023: licenses can be obtained directly from the GCB, without the involvement of a master license holder, under the current legislation, the Landsverordening Buitengaatse Hazardspelen (LBH). These LBH licenses will be converted to provisional licenses when the LOK 2024 is enacted. The fees for an LBH license will amount to ANG 8,000 per month and ANG 500 per URL per year with a maximum of ANG 100,000 per year. This may be an indication of the fees that can be expected in LOK 2024. One government official commented that fees will not be related to income (GGR or NGR) of operators.

Seamless Transition: Platform and Registration

The GCB has in the meantime

opened a digital platform for the application process. The same platform will also be used and made available for the registration of existing sublicense holders in Curaçao, but the portal does not support registration yet. Registration is necessary to be able to enjoy the benefits of the transition arrangements under LOK 2024. Sub license holders who do not register before LOK 2024 is enacted, will need to cease operation when LOK 2024 is enacted. EM Group will assist its clients with the registration process and to this extent you will receive instructions from your account manager in the next month.

Why apply for a government issued license

The LBH license may be attractive for new applicants in Curaçao who do not want to go through the application process with a master license holder now and again with the government in 2024. And even though the fees may be higher than those of a sublicense, there will be no application fee (contrary to what is expected in the LOK 2024). Additionally, existing license holders may appreciate that applying for a government issued license now will save long waiting and uncertainty in 2024, when the whole sector needs to apply for such license.

LBH license application process

The process of applying for a LBH license as of 15 November 2023 will be extensive and will cover detailed aspects of the operation of the applicant and the fit and properness of its owners and key persons involved. At EM Group, we believe this gives us a first good insight in what may be expected under LOK 2024. We are preparing all necessary documents and digital tools to assist our clients in this application process. More news will follow soon.

Upcoming Sigma Curaçao event

From 25-28 September 2023, Curaçao will see its first ever online gaming conference, organized by Sigma in close cooperation with the Ministry of Finance of Curaçao. The conference is intended to educate the public about new and existing legislation regarding the online gaming sector in Curaçao.

EM Group will be an exhibitor at the conference show and will also have its own event during the SiGMA week. More details will follow soon.

Experience Curaçao beyond the conference

Clients who wish to visit the conference, should contact their account manager at EM Group to get assistance with travel arrangements, venue details and getting around in Curaçao. EM Group will host a social program in the days after the conference, so please get in touch with us to attend.

Foreign Exchange Exemptions

The Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten has announced that it will start processing applications for Foreign Exchange Exemptions again. It is mandatory to have an FE exemption, if a Curaçao company operates a bank account outside Curaçao. The CBCS is mandated to handle FE exemption applications but stopped processing the same in 2018. EM Group will be applying for the exemptions for all of its clients who do not have the FE exemption. Your account manager will contact you shortly to request documents that are necessary for the process.

Your trusted partners: Contact us

Should you have any questions or require assistance, do not hesitate to contact your dedicated account manager at EM Group. Alternatively, you can reach out to Arran McCarthy or George van Zinnicq Bergmann for further guidance.

Stay informed, stay engaged, and let EM Group be your guiding light in navigating the evolving landscape of Curaçao's business environment.

Stay tuned for more updates and developments in our next newsletter!