Known for its relatively low barriers to entry and liberal gambling landscape, Curacao is set to completely reform its licensing regime in a bid to tackle illegal gambling.
In an effort to overhaul the island’s online gambling regulation, the Curacao Council of Ministers have recently approved a new bill that will see the formation of a new independent gambling regulator, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA).
As it currently stands, there are four businesses licensed by the government, who in turn issue sub-licenses on their own terms. The new system will replace master license holders, effectively allowing the Curacao Government to regain power in terms of licensing and regulatory enforcement.
The CGA will be tasked with issuing licenses to both B2C operators and B2B suppliers, as well as ensuring that already licensed operators comply with the new rules set forth. In an attempt to increase revenue from the igaming sector, all licenses will also come with fees. Fees for the licences are anticipated to be around €4,000 to apply and then €12,000 annually, plus a monthly regulatory fee of €250 per URL.
The Curacao government has already begun registering existing sub-licensees into the new system, and those eligible will then have 12 months to convert their sub-licenses into transitional licences. Amongst the new measures that licensees will have to adhere to, which include stricter AML measures, is also the requirement of a minimum of three employees in key positions to be based on the island itself.
It is also anticipated that the CGA may also enter into cooperation agreements with other regulatory bodies, with such agreements being commonplace in Europe to prevent operators from targeting certain jurisdictions.
Curacao’s Finance Minister, Javier Silvania, has previously stated that the country currently does not make a lot of money from operators, with the majority of profits going directly to the master license holders. It is considered that the establishment of the CGA will enhance the legitimacy of the market, as well as profit and contribution to taxes.
With the bill already being given the go ahead by the Council of Ministers, it will be passed to advisory bodies for consultation before the final draft is put to Parliament, which is expected to be by the end of the year. Any significant changes to the bill have been deemed highly unlikely.