Curacao has long been a popular choice for online casino operators due to its lenient regulations and ease of obtaining licenses.
Long-term plans to modify Curaçao’s licencing structure have been in progress for some time now, but the continued uncertainty around these new regulations and the costs involved have left operators uneasy, with many exploring competing jurisdictions like Malta or the Isle of Man.
Minister of Finance Javier Silvania has provided some much needed clarity by confirming the fees required to obtain a licence under the new framework, although these remain subject to parliamentary approval.
Curaçao is now transitioning to the new National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) from its current National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (NOOGH) regulations. While operators were not required to specify whether they were B2B or B2C under the previous NOOGH regulations, the new regulations do require this information.
B2C Licence Fees
The licence application fee for B2C licences will be ANG9,000 (£4,000) under the forthcoming LOK draft, with one-time due diligence expenses ranging from ANG250 (£110) to ANG500 (£220) per individual. The quantity of due diligence paid varies according to the job of each individual.
The annual fee will be ANG48,000 (£21,000), while the monthly fee is ANG4,000 (£1,750). A total of ANG500 (£220) per annum must be paid per domain, but there are an unlimited number of domains under B2C licences.
Companies grandfathered in from direct licence under the previous NOOGH to the new LOK laws do not have to pay the ANG 48,000 (£21,000) upon enactment, according to government instructions. For these companies the first payment of the annual licence fee is required on the anniversary of the licence; at which time, the monthly charge decreases from ANG 7,000 (£3,100) to ANG 4,000 (£1,750), and the per-domain fee becomes applicable for each domain.
The licence payments for new B2B licences under the LOK are essentially the same as those for B2C. In addition, there will be an application cost of ANG9,000 (£4,000) and one-time due diligence expenses ranging from ANG250 (£110) to ANG500 (£220) per individual, contingent on the position. B2B licences will not have a monthly price; instead, the annual fee will be ANG48,000. Additionally, domains are not relevant in this case.
Curaçao’s new licensing process launched on 1 September, which was when the Gaming Control Board (GCB) opened its licence application portal. Account registrations could not be submitted until 1 November.
The new fees are significantly higher than they were previously, but this will not have been unexpected and the additional clarity will be welcomed by all.
There does remain an element of uncertainty though, with these fees appearing to remain subject to parliamentary approval. The increased expenses associated with improved compliance under the new regime are likewise not entirely known.
Many will be reassured by the changes in Curaçao, whilst others will seek the certainty of competitor jurisdictions providing international licences.