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Curaçao, Curaçao licence, gambling, regulation, gaming,

CURAÇAO – COUNCIL OF ADVICE HAS DECISIVELY REJECTED THE LANDSVERORDENING ONLINE KANSSPELEN (LOK) LAW

During a committee meeting, members of parliament expressed concerns about the readiness of the proposed law in Curaçao, citing confusing formulations and criticising the decision to establish the gaming authority as a foundation, which is in violation of the Country Package provisions and the RvA advice and raises questions about political influence.

Lawmakers also noted that the draft law was formulated without consulting all stakeholders, including the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the advisory council urged the Minister not to present the bill in its current form, emphasising the need to carefully structure the online gambling sector to prevent harm to the country’s traditional eGaming sector. 

The Curaçao Bar Association also submitted an objection, in particular questioning the accreditation process for lawyers outlined in the draft law. The association expressed concerns about the potential compromise of lawyers’ independence and conflicts with existing legislation. Additionally, worries surfaced about the accreditation process conflicting with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Order highlighted that the authority to assess lawyers and impose disciplinary measures rests with the Joint Court of Justice and the Supervisory Board of the Legal Profession. 

On the back of this, a flurry of superficial news articles were quick to predict doom, gloom and uncertainty, criticising the government for presenting the LOK in its current “incomplete form”.

Whilst acknowledging the magnitude of the undertaking, Curaçao’s Ministry of Finance Javier Silvania was quick to point out that the objections were expected and that the rejection was part and parcel of “ (…) the required and welcome legislative process” of a legislative democracy aimed at fostering wider debate on both the bill’s intended purposes and reach.

“It is inevitable that media reports about the evolving status will emerge – some of which will be in support and some critical of the intended legislative improvements depending on the leanings of the press and journalists.  I fully respect this freedom of speech and will not be individually addressing every article or opinion that is published.”

Further addressing the issue of misinformation, the minister added:

Amid this entire process we have been all too aware of a significant amount of misinformation, confusion and inaccuracy, and I strongly urge against the further propagation of unverified rumours or speculation.  Full and accurate information can only be guaranteed when issued by either the Ministry itself or the Curaçao Gaming Control Board.  To this end please be aware that we will be present at ICE 2024 in London, at booth number N9-260 and the team will as always be available for discussions with the candour with which we have approached this project from the outset.”

He was also quick to reassure operators currently in the process of applying for or renewing a licence:

“Crucially, I would like to clarify that the current process of licence issuance by the GCB under the current legislation (NOOGH) remains unchanged meaning that the Critical Milestones published on 20th December 2023 are likewise unaltered. “

Written reports are currently being prepared on the issues raised and when the Central Committee next reconvenes the government will address the parliamentary objections to the gambling ordinance.

Silvania concluded by remarking that all gambling licences in Curaçao have been renewed. The first of these renewed licences will expire in August 2025, with the last licence due for renewal in January 2025.

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