Update Curacao Online Gaming Legislation Modernization

July 19, 2023

Updates on Curacao Online Gaming Legislation Modernization: Ensuring Smooth Transition and Enhanced Regulations

On July 13, the Honorable Minister of Finance Mr. Silvania announced significant updates regarding the ongoing modernization of the Curacao Online Gaming Legislation (LOK). These updates aim to provide clarity and address concerns regarding key aspects of the regulatory changes.

In this article, we will delve into the four main areas of focus:

  1. Master License Extension;
  2. LOK legislation;
  3. What happens on September 1, 2023?
  4. Application Process

Significantly, contrary to speculation, there has been no change whatsoever to the legislation or permissions of the master license holders since the public announcement of the drafting of the new legislation last November. Neither the Ministry nor the GCB have prevented the master licenses from undertaking any activity that they have been doing in the years to date.

These updates seek to ensure uninterrupted operations, a smooth transition for existing license holders, and the establishment of enhanced policies and procedures aligned with international standards.

Master License Extension

Numerous (master) license holders presently hold a license which will expire in 2023. However, it has been confirmed that all existing parties presently holding an iGaming license from the Government of Curacao to operate a game of chance (otherwise known as Master License Holders) will be granted a 1-year extension until the LOK legislation is enacted.

This implies that no operator is going to have to pause or stop any business because of actions made by the Ministry, as one of the primary elements of the transitions into the new regime is to facilitate uninterrupted continuity of all operations of sublicense holders.

LOK Enactment

The LOK legislation is expected to be enacted in the first quarter of 2024. Once enacted, existing (master) license holders under the current law will transition automatically into the LOK legislation, subject to compliance with the policies and regulations outlined by the regulator within specified deadlines.

For existing sublicensees who wish to continue their operations under the new iGaming regime, a transition period will commence with the enactment of the LOK. During this period, which lasts for three months, sublicensees can submit their applications for a license under the LOK legislation. However – during the time of the application submission and processing – continuation of the business is allowed. Nothing changes as to how sublicensees have been operating to date. The status quo, otherwise known as the transition period, remains for up to nine months after the LOK has been implemented; and for those operators who do not wish to move to the new licensing regime, they can continue to conduct business up until the date the relevant master license expires.

What happens on 1st September 2023

Starting from September 1, 2023, the Gaming Control Board (GCB) will begin issuing new licenses directly to operators under the existing legislation, not the LOK. These licenses will come with certain conditions, including the prohibition of issuing sublicenses, as they are strictly operating licenses. Additionally, stipulations regarding policies such as anti-money laundering (AML) and responsible gaming will be attached to these licenses.

It is worth noting that Master license holders may continue to issue new sublicenses until the LOK legislation is enacted, with the discretion resting with the Master License Holder.

Application Process

The application process by the GCB aims to be simple and straightforward. It involves the completion of three online forms (A,B,C) and the submission of supporting documentation. The forms include:

  • The Online Gaming Application. An analysis of the proposed business operations, including marketing and distribution strategies and growth targets.
  • The Personal Declaration. This is the identification of the key people behind the business. Any UBO with 10% or more of the business ownership will have to provide fully verifiable identity information, Source of Wealth, Source of Funds which will confirm that UBOs are fiscally stable to sustain the license and of course that the sources are legitimate.
  • The Corporate Disclosures. A license can only be issued to a Curacao company and details of that entity will need to be provided to the GCB as part of the application process.

Once an applicant has satisfied the GCB in terms of the forms and documentation submission, then a license will be issued. Within six months of issuance of the license, audited policies and procedures will need to be submitted for evaluation. These policies and procedures should align with international standards expected of an upstanding licensed gambling operator. Player protection, dynamic AML procedures, KYC, responsible gaming and robust technical and info security setups will all be expected as standard in the new Curacao regime.


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Written by Arran McCarthy