Curaçao, a popular place for online gambling licenses, is making changes to its licensing system for foreign operators. The government is implementing the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) in response to a request from the Netherlands government. This reform will help Curaçao receive financial relief after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, operators must obtain a sub-license from one of the four master license holders to get approval. However, the government plans to replace this system with a new licensing approach. While the legislation is not yet submitted to parliament, regulators will start issuing new licenses with more requirements from September 1st.
To ensure a smooth transition, all master licenses will be extended for an additional year. This means that current license holders can continue their operations without any disruptions. The ministry wants to make sure that all sub-license holders can continue their business without any interruptions as well.
Once the LOK is in effect, all sub-licensees will have 90 days to apply for a new license, regardless of the remaining term of the master license. During the application process, the old regulations will still apply for up to nine months after the implementation of the LOK. Operators who choose not to switch to the new licensing regime can continue their business until their master license expires.
Starting from September 1st, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) will directly issue licenses to operators. These licenses will automatically convert to licenses granted under the LOK. However, they will not allow operators to offer sub-licenses. The new licenses will also include provisions for anti-money laundering and responsible gambling obligations.
Current master license holders will still be able to issue sub-licenses according to the current legislation. The processing of sub-license applications that are already in progress or paused will depend on the licensees themselves.
Operators can choose to apply for licenses through the GCB board or a master licensee. However, the upcoming implementation of the LOK means that the former category of licenses will not require resubmission.
The application process for new licenses after September 1st will be similar to the previous process. Operators will need to complete three forms: an online gaming application, a personal declaration identifying key individuals in the business, and corporate disclosures. These forms will ensure compliance with international standards, covering aspects such as player protection, anti-money laundering procedures, responsible gaming, and robust security setups.
More information about the fee structure of the new licensing regime will be provided by the ministry in September. If you would like assistance from our partner experts, please contact us.
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