Curaçao’s Online Gambling Reform: A New Era for Casinos and Regulation
Curaçao is on the verge of a significant shift in its online gambling landscape. The proposed legislation, eagerly anticipated by the industry, has finally made its way to the parliament.
This week, Markus Björk from Slotsoo gathered insights from the Ministry of Finance and various Curaçao casino operators to gauge their reactions to this pivotal change. A key question arises: Should European license providers feel concerned about the impending Curaçao casinos 2.0?
LOK Now Just Waiting for Parliament Approval
The Ministry of Finance of Curaçao, on December 19th, announced the submission of the LOK (Landsverordening op de kansspelen) to the parliament. Expected to be operational in the first half of 2024, this National Ordinance for Games of Chance marks a substantial reform in the industry. Javier Silvania, the Finance Minister and a prominent figure in this reform, expressed his enthusiasm about reaching this historic milestone, viewing it as a transformative leap forward.
Currently, Curaçao’s casino licensing is managed by four master license holders, responsible for issuing licenses to individual operators and ensuring their regulatory compliance. This system has led to significant quality disparities and a concentration of financial benefits with the master license holders, leaving Curaçao with minimal economic gains. The LOK aims to abolish master licenses and intermediary roles, requiring direct application for licenses from the Curaçao Gaming Control Board. This shift promises uniform quality control and new job opportunities on the island, as physical presence of gambling companies will be mandatory.
Spinwise of Tsars Casino acknowledges the challenges of transitioning away from sublicensing but anticipates long-term benefits outweighing the initial hurdles.
Curaçao License Will Remain Tax Free
The Curaçao license, attractive for its tax-free status, no restrictions on player nationality, and strong regulatory framework, remains unchanged in this aspect under the new law. According to Alpha Affiliates’ Chief Legal Officer Alexandra Shepelevich, these benefits are a major draw for casino entrepreneurs. However, the new licensing fees and digital seal, designed to deter unserious casinos, may raise entry barriers.
Finance Minister Javier Silvania highlights the inclusive approach in drafting the new law, balancing the needs of Curaçao, its citizens, the gambling industry, and players. The challenge, as Mark Wellington of Rollino Casino points out, lies in maintaining a balance between innovation and compliance, crucial for the industry’s dynamism and player protection.
In conclusion, Curaçao’s gambling reform signifies a promising new start for 2024, with potential benefits for all stakeholders involved.