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Curacao gaming license: new licensing regime since September 2023

Currently, Curacao stands as one of the top choices among jurisdictions for acquiring gaming licenses. The simplicity of obtaining a Curacao gaming license and its favorable tax conditions make it an appealing choice for numerous entrepreneurs.

However, Curacao licenses have their peculiarities: they are divided into master licenses and sub-licenses. For a long time master licenses were issued directly by the state (Ministry of Justice), and subsequently, master license holders had the autonomy to issue sub-licenses in unlimited quantities. There were only four owners of master licenses who sub-licensed other operators. Until now, it was only possible to obtain a sub-license.

As of September 1, 2023, significant changes have occurred in Curacao's gaming legislation.

Curacao gaming license: new licensing regime since September 2023

Posted 1 September 2023

Changes as of September 1, 2023

  1. Applications for new master licenses for online gaming will be accepted and processed directly from operators in accordance with existing legislation;
  2. An online portal for the Gaming Control Board (GCB) will be established for:
    • Receiving applications for new licenses;
    • Registering operators working under existing sub-licenses.
  3. The portal will contain application forms and relevant information on the above, including application and registration requirements.

In light of these announced changes, the GCB will be authorized to:

  1. Issue a license if the applicant’s activities ensure the safe, responsible, transparent, and reliable conduct of gaming in or outside of Curacao;
  2. Suspend or revoke a license if there are grounds to believe that a company’s activities jeopardize the safe, responsible, transparent, and reliable conduct of gaming in or outside of Curacao;
  3. Attach conditions and restrictions to the license that promote the safe, responsible, transparent, and reliable conduct of gaming in or outside of Curacao.
Important:

Owners of new master licenses will not have the ability to issue sub-licenses.

Obtaining the master Curacao gaming license

Obtaining a master license in Curacao under the new regulations involves several stages:

  1. Preliminary Licensing Stage:
    • Verifying the personal data of directors and authorized persons;
    • Comprehensive business checks;
    • Verifying the company’s compliance with key policies and conditions.
  2. Post-Licensing Stage:
    • Monitoring of the operators who have obtained the license;
    • Within 6 months from the issuance of the license, licensees are required to conduct necessary checks and provide data to the GCB;
    • Confirmation of the reliability of new licensees, directors, and other authorized persons;
    • Reports on significant incidents.

Who can apply for a Curacao license?

Any applicant whose activities involve:

  • Player registration and verification;
  • Involvement in financial operations, management of player funds (deposits and withdrawals).

Applicant Requirements

  1. The applicant must register through the GCB portal;
  2. Applications can only be submitted by legal entities registered in accordance with Curacao legislation and having a registered office in Curacao;
  3. All required forms, information, and documents should be submitted through the GCB portal;
  4. All necessary data and documents regarding the applicant and the company’s activities should be provided;
  5. Equipment and software must be tested by an independent inspection body approved by GCB;
  6. Equipment and software must be regularly maintained;
  7. An up-to-date list of equipment, software, and proposed games must be on-site and ready for inspection;
  8. Security clearance must be successfully passed;
  9. The conditions for obtaining the license must be met.

To apply for a Curacao license, you must fill out an application on the website in several stages. Some application forms may require additional documents to confirm the information.
The requested information may include:

  • Applicant’s details;
  • Brand name;
  • Used domains;
  • Business model;
  • Type of gaming activity;
  • Player account details;
  • Details about fund management;
  • Currencies used;
  • Cash transactions (directly or through intermediaries);
  • Server location;
  • Gaming delivery channels (PC/mobile devices);
  • Information about game providers;
  • Information about the applicant’s criminal record;
  • Information about the applicant’s address and citizenship;
  • Applicant’s positions held;
  • Detailed information about local representatives;
  • Company information (name, local address, registration number, date of establishment, etc.);
  • Company history (launch, business expansion, relocation of operations from another jurisdiction, existing activities licensed in Curacao);
  • Source of financing;

It’s worth noting that within 6 months of obtaining a Curacao license, licensees are required to undergo procedures to verify all player data, accounts, funds, game fairness, information security, and provide this data to the GCB.

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Documents required for submitting an application

  1. Original or certified copy of the birth certificate;
  2. Original or certified copy of the passport and/or identity document;
  3. Original or certified copy of recent police clearance and/or protocol regarding the applicant (certificate of no criminal record); Documents must be provided for each jurisdiction in which the applicant has resided for more than six months in the past two years;
  4. Certified authentic copies of any gaming licenses issued to the applicant in any jurisdiction;
  5. Original or certified copy of a letter from a credit institution/bank or bank statement (issued within 6 months from the date of this application);
  6. Original or certified copy of a utility bill or bank statement showing the current address of the applicant or any other document confirming the residential address;
  7. Declaration and confirmation of the source of funds and source of income of shareholders.

Timelines and the validity period of the Curacao gaming license

The decision-making process typically takes two months from the date of receiving all the necessary documents and your application.

As of today, a Curacao gaming license is valid for one year.

What to keep in mind?

It’s important to note that a Curacao license holder is obligated to provide access to the following information:

  • License holder’s information;
  • License issuance date and its validity period;
  • Address of the license holder, contact details, and customer support contact;
  • Links to their terms and conditions;
  • Verification of age restrictions (prohibition of participation by minors);
  • Gambling activities organized by the license holder, including info about game rules, odds of winning, method of determining odds, and payout percentages;
  • Informing players about gambling addiction and where they can seek help if they believe they have a gambling problem;
  • Complaint procedures;
  • The timeframe in which winnings become available after the conclusion of the game;
  • The ability for players to limit their bets or participation;
  • The ability for players to self-exclude from participation, registration, and receiving marketing materials.

Curacao gaming license cost

For all license holders, the license fee amounts to ANG 96,000 per year (approximately EUR 49,000). This fee is paid in monthly installments of ANG 8,000 per month (around EUR 4,100).
New license holders will also incur a domain fee for each additional domain, amounting to ANG 500 per year (approximately EUR 255) but not exceeding ANG 100,000.
Additionally, there is a fee of ANG 500 for each new registration of an ultimate beneficial owner (10%), qualified shareholder (10%), or key personnel of the license holder.

Conclusion

Clearly, the jurisdiction of Curacao has been attracting entrepreneurs in the gambling industry long before these innovations. The country’s economy is not stagnant and is evolving in proportion to investors’ demands, striving to offer increasingly favorable conditions. In modern times, the Curacao government recognizes all the advantages of its position and is becoming a stronger competitor to other popular gambling jurisdictions. The changes in license issuance will open up numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and provide a fresh stimulus to the gaming industry’s development.

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