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Curaçao is taking significant steps to enhance its regulatory framework for the gambling industry and hold operators accountable to international standards. Starting from September 1st, the government will issue direct licenses to gambling operators, expediting the regulatory reform process. This decision was announced by Finance Minister Javier Silvania during iGaming NEXT Valletta 23, where he expressed concerns about troubling corporate behavior that requires immediate action.

The objective to overhaul the regulatory regime and eliminate the current master and sub-licensing system was initially announced last summer. The progress has been positive, with the National Ordinance on Games of Chance (LOK) currently advancing through the parliamentary process. The LOK was recently presented to the country’s Council of Advice, the final step before it goes to parliament for approval.

However, Silvania acknowledges the need for stronger practices within gambling operations, particularly regarding anti-money laundering measures, fraud prevention, and player protection.

To address these concerns, the Finance Minister has instructed the Gaming Control Board (GCB), the current regulator, to implement and enforce new standards. The GCB will begin issuing new licenses to operators under the existing legislation, with a plan to transition them to the new regulatory framework once it is enacted.

To facilitate a smooth transition for existing operators who are willing to adopt the new regime, the government will ensure uninterrupted business operations. The GCB is developing a dedicated portal for operators to register, streamlining the process of obtaining a direct license.

Silvania expresses disappointment that Curaçao licenses have been associated with being “quick and easy to obtain” and lacking in regulations and monitoring compared to other jurisdictions. He emphasizes that the new legislation will reverse this sentiment unequivocally. Curaçao intends to identify the owners of businesses operating within its borders through thorough due diligence. Transparency regarding the source of funds entering the country is required, and operators must adhere to legislation aligned with reputable jurisdictions and meet minimum international standards for anti-money laundering.

Furthermore, Curaçao will demand robust player protection and data security. The LOK establishes the Curaçao Gaming Authority as a new regulatory body, aiming not only to prevent but also to mitigate any unwelcome and unlawful activities. Silvania highlights the importance of regulatory cooperation with other authorities worldwide to ensure fairness for operators and suppliers while safeguarding player interests and preserving the integrity of the gaming industry as a whole.

While acknowledging that the majority of Curaçao-licensed operators uphold integrity and best practices, Silvania recognizes the need to address the tarnished reputation caused by a few operators. The reforms aim to transform Curaçao’s image from being perceived as the “red-headed step-child” of the gambling industry.

As IGA Group, we understand the importance of complying with the new regulatory framework in Curaçao’s gambling industry. We are well-equipped to assist operators in preparing for the upcoming changes and navigating the transition to the new system. Whether you are interested in migrating your existing operations or filing for a new application, we invite you to fill in the form below. Our team will promptly review your submission and get back to you with tailored guidance and support to ensure a seamless and successful transition under the new regulations.

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