Curacao Gaming License

Curaçao Gaming License

Unlock the full potential of the Curaçao Gaming License, designed to empower both emerging startups and seasoned enterprises within the online gaming industry.

Curaçao Gaming Control Board

The Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) plays a pivotal role in the oversight and regulation of gaming activities within Curaçao.

Established as part of the government’s efforts to provide structured and legal frameworks for gambling operations, the GCB is tasked with ensuring that gaming within the jurisdiction adheres to strict standards of fairness, security, and transparency.

Since its inception in 1999, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) has held the responsibility for overseeing the regulation of the terrestrial casino sector.

From March 2020, the GCB has been entrusted with the task of issuing licenses and supervising Curaçao’s online gaming sector under the directive of the Minister of Finance, marking a pivotal expansion of its regulatory scope.

Curaçao Gaming License Overview

The application process for a Curaçao gaming license involves a meticulous evaluation of submitted documentation, from corporate disclosures to personal histories of key individuals within the applying entity.

Prospective licensees must demonstrate comprehensive operational and financial planning, including detailed business structures and clear strategies for player interaction and wagering. Critical to this process is the establishment of a Curaçao-registered entity, though the parent group need not be based entirely in Curaçao.

The disclosed information must thoroughly outline the group’s structure, including UBOs, directors, and any entities with a significant shareholding or interest​​.

Curaçao is an attractive and reliable jurisdiction for online gaming operators looking to establish or expand their operations.

CURAÇAO GAMING LICENSE - FREE CONSULTATION

The Curaçao Gaming License

Curaçao is set to introduce innovative legislation for the regulation of games of chance in the second quarter of 2024.  The central component of this reform is the National Ordinance on Games of Chance (LOK), which has already been presented to the country’s Council of Advice and is currently making its way to parliament.

The LOK gaming license is poised to replace the existing master and sub-license system, where only four master license holders have the authority to grant sub-licenses to operators. To ensure a seamless and secure regulatory environment, the LOK encompasses the establishment of the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA), an independent administrative body that will succeed the current Gaming Control Board (GCB).

The regulatory shift will introduce a government licensing system that will be stringently monitored and divided into B2C (operator) and B2B (supplier) categories. The B2B operations will encompass game providers, platform providers, and payment service providers.

In preparation for the Lok’s implementation, the Finance Minister of Curaçao has chosen to continue granting licenses under the existing law, the National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (Landsverordening buitengaatse hazardspelen, P.B. 1993, no. 63) (NOOGH). This decision is intended to create a transition framework that will enable a smooth transition from the current law to the new one.

The combination of minimal licensing fees, zero percent tax on income sourced from abroad, and a welcoming environment for cryptocurrency makes it a preferred jurisdiction for iGaming enterprises.

Timeframes

Establishing a company in Curaçao involves a registration process lasting approximately 2 to 3 weeks. During this process, we will ensure compliance with anticipated requirements under the LoK, including the appointment of local directors. By doing so, we aim to minimise the need for significant structural changes once the LoK becomes effective.

During the company establishment phase, we can initiate the preparation of necessary documents for the license application. Our team of experts will provide guidance throughout this process. The decision to approve a license by the GCB is made within a two-month period after receiving the application.

License Fees to expect from the GCB

Until the Lok law comes into effect, which we expect to be in June or July 2024, licensees are obligated to adhere to the existing laws in Curacao (NOOGH). Nevertheless, the conditions of each license granted by the GCB will mirror the new Lok laws.

In terms of applicable fees, licensees are expected to follow the NOOGH until the Lok law is implemented. As a result, applicants/licensees can anticipate the following fees payable to the GCB:

NOOGH (valid until the Lok law comes into effect)

  • No fees for application.
  • The annual license fee totals 120,000.00 ANG (pegged to the US dollar):
    • An annual license fee of 36,000.00 ANG is due upon license issuance
    • A monthly fee of 7,000.00 ANG

Please note that these fees allow licensees to include up to 40 domains within the license. However, if a licensee wishes to add more than 40 domains, an additional fee of 500 ANG per domain per year will be applied.

Lok (estimated to be effective from June or July 2024)

  • Application fee of 9,000.00 ANG.
  • Annual license fee of 49,000.00 ANG due upon license issuance.
  • Monthly fee of 4,000.00 ANG.
  • An annual fee of 500 ANG allows licensees to include unlimited domains within the license.

Application Process

While the Curaçao gambling license has been perceived as permissive, those planning to apply should not undervalue the complexity of the application process. The revised process is designed to conduct a comprehensive examination and evaluation of stakeholders and the aspiring company. To obtain the license and evade unnecessary costs, operators must meticulously submit all necessary information from the start.

General Requirements for the License

  • Establishment of a company within Curaçao.
  • Availability of a local liaison.
  • Comprehensive outline of the games on offer.
  • Clearly defined Terms of Use on the website.
  • Verification of domain ownership.
  • Maintenance of at least one server within the jurisdiction.
  • Application of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) protocols for every player.
  • In-depth technical evaluation of each gaming system, including its software.
  • Certification of games by internationally reputable, and independent testing labs.
  • Prohibition of registration for individuals under 18, US residents, and residents of the Dutch Antilles.

Documentation

The application for the Curaçao gaming license necessitates a variety of specific documents. While the exact set can differ, the fundamental requirements are as follows:

  • Original or certified copy of the birth certificate.
  • Original or certified copy of the passport and/or identity document.
  • Original or certified copy of a 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.
  • Certified authentic copies of any gaming licenses issued to the applicant in any jurisdiction.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Declaration and confirmation of the source of funds and source of income of shareholders.

License Duration

At present, the GCB does not acknowledge renewals. Instead, a fresh casino license application must be submitted and processed every three years. This policy may be revised once the Lok law is enacted.

Benefits of a Curaçao Licence

The Curaçao gaming license has always been attractive due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, making it a popular choice for those entering the industry. While recent changes may seem to diminish these benefits, a closer examination reveals potential advantages.

In the iGaming sector, as in many others, long-term success often depends on strategic, forward-thinking decisions. The modifications to Curaçao’s licensing system represent such a strategic shift, particularly for those not solely focused on immediate profits. Here are the potential benefits:

  • Reputation: The Curaçao gambling license is one of the most recognised and sought-after international licenses due to its extensive market penetration. Its established reputation acts as a seal of approval, fostering trust with both players and partners. The ongoing evolution of its rules and structure enhances its standing, providing long-term benefits for Curacao-licensed casinos and other iGaming brands.
  • Wide Market Reach: The Curaçao license has a global reach, operating under the principle ‘what is not explicitly prohibited is permitted’. However, there are specific exclusions, and operators should regularly check for any changes. This flexible approach gives licensees considerable freedom in terms of market selection and operation.
  • Cryptocurrency Support: In the 2024 financial landscape, cryptocurrencies occupy a significant niche, offering speed, flexibility, independence, and anonymity. For operators, this means easy access to a market of motivated, crypto-literate users, which can help grow their player base and profits. The Curaçao license supports this need, striking a balance between certified gaming operations and cryptocurrency transactions.
  • Comprehensive Permission: The Curaçao license allows operators to offer a wide range of gambling activities – from slots and lotteries to live games and bingo – all under a single license. This broad coverage eliminates the need for separate legal approvals for different types of gambling activities, allowing businesses to experiment and scale up without regulatory constraints.

The information contained within this page is subject to change, pending the implementation of forthcoming regulations.

Licensing Cost Comparison & Taxation

Jurisdiction

Application Timeframe

Local Officer Requirements

License Costs

Annual Renewal Costs

Corporate Taxation

Gaming Tax

Local Server Requirement

Local Company Requirements

Alderney

3-6 months

Yes

£17,500

£35,000-£400,000

0%

0%

No

No

Anjouan

3-4 weeks

No

€17,000

€17,000

0%

0%

Replication

No

Curacao

8-10 weeks

Yes

€61,700

€43,200

2%

0%

Yes

Yes

Cyprus

6-9 months

Yes

€30,000

€30,000

12.5%

13%

Replication

Yes

Gibraltar

6-9 months

Yes

£100,000

£100,000

12.5%

1% max £425,000

Yes

Yes

Isle of Man

3-6 months

Yes

£36,750 – £52,500

£36,750 – £52,500

0%

0.1 – 1.5%

No

Yes

Kahnawake

4-6 months

No

$40,000

$20,000

0%

0%

Yes

No

Malta

6-12 months

Yes

€25,000 – €85,000

€25,000-€85,000

35%

5% max €600,000

Yes

Yes

Ontario

6-12 Months

No

$100,000

$100,000

15%

15-25%

No

No

Tobique

6-8 weeks

No

€36,000

€18,000

0%

0%

Compliance Platform

No

United Kingdom

3-6 months

No

£4,224- £91,686

£4,199-£793,729+

19%-25%

15%-21%

No

No

 

  • The figures presented in the table above serve as estimates and are provided for informational purposes. It’s important to note that certain costs are approximations and may vary based on fluctuations in exchange rates.
  • It’s crucial to understand that the mentioned costs exclusively pertain to licensing fees and do not encompass expenses associated with legal fees, compliance procedures, or liaising with gaming regulatory authorities.
  • Furthermore, it’s essential to consider that additional charges might apply, including fees for key person licenses, local substance requirements, minimum capital obligations, and other regulatory prerequisites beyond the scope of the license costs.

Explore the diverse jurisdictions we specialise in through our comprehensive licensing support. Select a location from the dropdown menu to gain detailed insights into each region’s licensing landscape, requirements, and strategic advantages for your iGaming venture.

The Curaçao Gaming License FAQ

What types of online gaming activities does the Curaçao license cover?

The Curaçao license broadly covers all major types of online gaming activities, including online casinos, sports betting, poker, bingo, and other gambling-related games.

Must an applicant be a Curaçao registered entity to apply for a gaming license?

Yes, the applicant must be a Curaçao registered entity, though the entire corporate group need not be based in Curaçao.

What are the server location requirements for Curaçao-licensed operators?

Operators are required to host at least one physical server in Curaçao to comply with licensing requirements, ensuring that a portion of the gaming operation is physically based within the jurisdiction.

Are there any jurisdictions where Curaçao-licensed operators are prohibited from offering their services?

The countries that are banned from being targeted with the license include:

  1. Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, Sint Maarten, St. Eustatius
  2. Netherlands
  3. France
  4. Italy
  5. Australia
  6. Spain
  7. United Kingdom
  8. United States of America

It’s essential to note that the list of excluded countries is subject to change, and it’s the responsibility of the licensed operator to remain compliant with relevant laws and regulations.

Is game certification required for Curaçao gaming license holders?

Yes, games provided by Curaçao-licensed operators need to be certified by recognised independent testing labs to ensure fairness and compliance with international gaming standards.

Can Curaçao-licensed operators accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment?

Yes, the Curaçao license allows for the integration of cryptocurrencies as payment methods, reflecting the jurisdiction’s adaptive approach to emerging financial technologies.

What is the decision period for a license application by the GCB?

The GCB aims to make a decision within two months of submission, but this can extend based on the complexity of the application.

What are the core forms required for a Curaçao gaming license application?

The Online Licensing Application Form, Personal History Disclosure Form, and Corporate Disclosure Form.

Is it necessary for all documents to be consistent with each other?

Yes, all documentation must be individually and collectively consistent to avoid anomalies that could delay or impact the licensing decision negatively.

Are UBOs, directors, or key persons required to be Curaçao residents?

No, they do not need to be Curaçao residents but must be disclosed in the application.

What information is required for a business plan submission?

A comprehensive business plan covering the entire operation for each license application, including strategies, market demographics, and financial projections.

What should start-ups disclose in their financial projections?

Start-ups should separately disclose the expected initial investment, projected marketing expenses, commissions paid, and any third-party support documents.

How does the GCB evaluate the realism of financial projections and funding?

The GCB reviews if projections are supported, funding matches projections for a 3-year period, and if existing businesses provide a narrative on past performance.

What does the GCB expect in terms of senior management experience?

A business plan should demonstrate the senior management team’s experience in financial management and sector knowledge.

Who needs to submit a Personal History Disclosure (PHD)?

UBOs, individuals with a Qualifying Interest, and Key Persons involved in the management and operations of the company.

Can a UBO also undertake the role of compliance officer?

No, the compliance officer role cannot be combined with any commercial role to prevent conflicts of interest.

What critical changes require immediate notification to the GCB?

Any significant changes such as UBO, Key Person changes, or criminal charges against the company or its board members.

What is the definition of a Key Event in the context of a license application?

A Key Event is a significant change or occurrence that could affect the outcome of the application or the operation of the applicant.

How are domain changes handled in the application process?

Domains must be registered and controlled by the applicant, with changes or acquisitions post-application requiring notification to the GCB.

What happens if there's a material change to the business plan after submission?

Material changes need to be reflected accurately in an updated business plan and communicated to the GCB.

Are there requirements to segregate player funds?

Yes. Licensees are required to segregate player funds from operational funds. Player funds should be held in a separate account.

What documentation is critical for the GCB’s evaluation of the application?

Documents demonstrating the company’s structure, financial stability, and operational integrity are critical for evaluation.

How should an applicant demonstrate the availability of funds?

Through bank statements, crypto wallet proofs, and a narrative on how the funds were amassed and allocated to the business.

How does Curaçao's licensing framework address responsible gaming?

Operators are expected to adhere to guidelines and implement measures that promote responsible gaming, protecting players from gambling-related harm.

What are the GDPR requirements?

Licensees must comply with local data protection requirements for each territory targeted and a Privacy Policy must be present in the footer at all times.

What are the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements for Curaçao-licensed operators?

Operators must develop and enforce comprehensive AML policies, conduct due diligence on customers, and report suspicious transactions to remain compliant with Curaçao’s regulatory standards.

Technical standards

• The website must have a footer containing specific information and policies, including an active domain validation shield.
• Company information or “About Us”.
• A responsible gaming link.
• Complaints and arbitration information.
• Terms of Use.
• Privacy Policy.
• Bonus Policy.
• Affiliates.
• AML & KYC policy.
• Payment policy.
• Contact us.

Corporate Structure

This forward-thinking corporate framework capitalises on the strategic benefits inherent to Curaçao and the EU, enhancing financial efficiency and adherence to regulatory standards.

This corporate strategy demonstrates a deliberate alignment between a Curaçao-based gaming company, holding a Curaçao Gaming License, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, a payment processing company located in Cyprus.

By holding a Curaçao Gaming License, the Curaçao-based parent company makes a decisive entry into the global online gaming market, utilising the regulatory acclaim and broad market access granted by the Curaçao Gaming Control Board. This strategic placement not only boosts the company’s market entry but also leverages Curaçao’s well-established regulatory framework to its advantage.

Concurrently, the subsidiary in Cyprus, focusing on payment processing, takes advantage of Cyprus’s favourable tax regime, its European Union membership, and a sturdy banking system renowned for supporting worldwide financial transactions. This synergy ensures streamlined financial operations, enhancing the company’s efficiency in handling payments and bolstering its financial robustness. Additionally, the strategic presence in Cyprus significantly elevates the company’s stature and trustworthiness among financial and business partners.

Furthermore, this carefully designed corporate structure employs an intricate risk management strategy, effectively balancing regulatory and operational risks between the jurisdictions of Curaçao and Cyprus. This strategy affords the company the agility to adapt to changes in regulations, refine tax strategies, and customise services to meet a diverse range of market demands, thereby enhancing its operational resilience and adaptability in the competitive landscape.

Corporate Structure - Curaçao Gaming License

Benefits of a Curaçao Gaming License

A Curaçao Gaming License presents a comprehensive array of advantages, including streamlined access to the market, enhanced operational agility, and increased profitability margins, all framed within a robust and supportive regulatory environment.

For Start-ups

  • Streamlined Market Entry: Curaçao’s licensing process is relatively quick, allowing new operators to rapidly enter the online gaming market.
  • Cost-Efficiency: The licensing and operational costs in Curaçao are competitive, making it an attractive jurisdiction for startups with limited budgets.
  • Comprehensive Gaming Coverage: A single Curaçao license covers a wide range of online gaming activities, eliminating the need for multiple licenses.
  • Cryptocurrency Acceptance: Curaçao is known for being crypto-friendly, allowing new operators to leverage popular and emerging payment methods.
  • Global Reach: The license enables operators to offer their services to players worldwide, subject to adherence to local laws.
  • Regulatory Support: Curaçao provides regulatory guidance to new operators, helping them navigate the complexities of the online gaming landscape.

For Existing Gaming Companies

  • Brand Credibility: Obtaining a license from a well-established jurisdiction like Curaçao enhances an operator’s reputation for reliability and security.
  • Operational Expansion: Existing operators can expand their services or enter new markets under the protection of Curaçao’s regulatory framework.
  • Tax Advantages: Curaçao offers favourable tax conditions, potentially improving profitability for established operators.
  • Regulatory Flexibility: The Curaçao Gaming Control Board offers a degree of operational flexibility, allowing businesses to adapt to market changes efficiently.
  • Technical Infrastructure: Curaçao’s requirements for local server hosting can bolster an operator’s technical infrastructure for improved service delivery.
  • Network and Partnerships: Being part of Curaçao’s licensed gaming community can open up partnership opportunities with software providers, payment processors, and other key industry players.

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