Curaçao to Overhaul Its Gambling Industry and Introduce a New Regulator

Curaçao to Overhaul Its Gambling Industry and Introduce a New Regulator

Curaçao has been known for its low barriers when it comes to casino operators as its system has been pretty liberal, but all of that is likely to change as the authorities in the country are planning to make a complete overhaul of the gambling industry and introduce a new regulator. 

The Government of Curaçao Will Set up the Curaçao Gaming Authority 

The Council of Ministers has approved a bill that is set to completely overhaul the gambling industry. With the new regulations, the country is expected to form a new independent gambling regulator called the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA). 

CGA will issue licenses to B2B and B2C operators and since the government plans to increase its revenue from the gambling sector, the licenses will come with fees. 

Existing sub-licenses will be integrated into the new system and will have 12 months to convert their sub-license into a transitional license. Curaçao’s government has already started registering all eligible sub-licensees that will be a part of the process.

Aside from licensing and overseeing the gambling industry in Curaçao, CGA will be able to enter agreements with other regulatory bodies. Mario Galea, ex-CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority and a consultant to the overhaul process in Curaçao, stated that these types of agreements are common in Europe as regulators want to prevent operators from targeting certain jurisdictions. 

Galea added that the CGA will also have the power to revoke licenses if operators do not adhere to the industry standards and shared a few words on the license fees for B2C operators. He noted that there will be a license application fee of around $4,000, a $12,000 annual license fee, and a $250 monthly regulatory fee. 

Several increased measures will be applied. Licensees will be required to put a minimum of three employees in key positions and they must be based on the island. Enhanced AML measures are also set to be applied. 

Curaçao’s Finance Minister Is Okay if Operators Leave Due to the Tightened Regulation 

While speaking about the gambling reforms, Curaçao’s finance minister, Javier Silvania, noted that he has no problem if operators decide to leave as a result of the tightened regulation. While speaking to iGB, Silvania noted that the new bill will ensure that the monitoring process is “under the control of the government.”

As for the reason why he’s not concerned for operators that are leaving Curaçao, Silvania noted that currently, the country doesn’t make a lot of money from the operators. A majority of the profit, according to Silvania, goes to master licensees.

Furthermore, Silvania stated that the companies that the government wants to stay are those that “comply with the rules.” In terms of local presence, Silvania stated that having at least 3 key employees on the island itself is a rule that he will not back out from as it is essential for him. 

He explained that it is important for the government for operators to be established in Curaçao and contribute to taxes, even if it’s not much. Having companies in Curaçao on paper without them adding any money to the country is unwanted, Silvania elaborated.

Galea also shared some thoughts on the new regulator by saying that the creation of CGA will add a lot of legitimacy to the market. Curaçao has been regarded as a low-standard market, especially after it was found that as many as 12,000 sites were offering unlicensed products.

The new system Is a joint effort between the Dutch government and the  Curaçao government. Curaçao is a constituent country of the Netherlands. Silvania said that Dutch civil servants have been providing the government with a fair share of advice. He considers the combined effort as a better choice as it gives the new bill “more expertise.” 

Considering the fact that the Council of Ministers has already greenlit the bill, it will be put in front of advisory bodies, which are set to make adjustments, and then, it will go to Parliament. Silvania hopes that the bill will be approved by the end of 2022.

Author: Ian Douglas