It is an island situated in the southern Caribbean Sea, close to the Venezuelan coast, and forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curaçao has an open economy, with tourism, shipping services, oil refining, financial and gaming services being the most important sectors.
Online gaming in Curaçao has been formally legalised in 1993 when the National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard entered into force. Online gaming licenses are issued by the Minister of Justice by national decrees, but recent developments have seen the Minister of Finance being tasked with the licensing and supervision of the online gaming sector.
The Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) is the entity/foundation regulating gaming in the Curaçao. Founded in 1999, the GCB is tasked with the regulation and supervision of gaming taking place in and from Curaçao. It was predominantly formed to regulate the land-based casino industry in Curaçao and issuing licences for lotteries and charity bingos but has recently been also tasked with the supervision of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) of all gaming types, including online gaming.
Originally it was the Curaçao e-Gaming Licensing Authority which had the responsibility to regulate the online gambling industry, since 2002, however on December 18, 2018, the Minister of Finance publicly announced the Government’s intent to task the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) with the regulation of the online gaming sector. On February 15, 2019, the GCB was appointed the AML/CFT supervisor for all gaming sectors operating in and from Curaçao, which includes the online gaming sector.
Similar to other regulatory bodies, the Gaming Control Board strives to protect public interests and ensure the stability of the Curaçao gaming industry, by making sure that all gaming is conducted responsibly and in a transparent manner, keeping it free from criminal and corrupt elements.
The Curaçao authorities can issue two different types of egaming licences:
- Master Licence: Curaçao basic licence, but also allowing licencees to sub-licence. The Master Licence allows holders to offer any type of e-gaming business, covering all casino games, sports betting, exchanges, lotteries, games of skill and chance and also bingo. Same privileges can be passed on to the sub-licencees, who would thus be operating under the auspices of the Master Licence. (A White Label concept). Only few companies are in possession of a Master Licence.
- Sub-Licence: This type of licence is very similar to the Master Licence and allows licencees to offer all types of services which are allowed to Master Licence holders. The main difference between the two is that Master Licence holders are allowed to sub-licence, but sub-licencees are not allowed to sub-licence to other third parties. To obtain a sub-licence, a company needs to apply with holders of a Master Licence.
The Curaçao licence allows holders to offer gaming and betting services to practically everywhere across the globe.
Obtaining a Curaçao e-gaming licence, is not considered complicated, but going through a service provider like IGA (iGaming Advisors) is a must in order to obtain a pre-approval and then be able to apply for an e-gaming and IP License. A pre-approval is usually granted within 24 hours, with the licence roughly being issued within a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
You will need to have hardware based in Curaçao with at least your customer database on the local (Curaçao) server in order to comply with the Permanent Establishment Requirement (PE). Then you can apply for a Sublicense from a Master License holder.
Once issued, a Curaçao e-gaming licence is valid indefinitely, unless cancelled. Hence there is no need to formally request a renewal of the licence as long as it is kept active, with the annual licence fees duly paid on time.
Curaçao tax on net profits is only 2%, but in order to obtain a licence and start your business, you need to get assistance from a corporate service provider.
Depending on whether you set up the company through the same Master licence providing you with the sub-licence or else you set up the company directly through a trust management company, incorporation and initial set up fees can obviously differ.
The solution and the type of company you opt for, will then determine your ongoing company costs in Curaçao.
In addition, one needs to keep in mind that to satisfy the Permanent Establishment (PE) requirements, servers must be located in Curaçao, and this may or may not be costly, depending on whether or not you have the right partner.
Licensing fees for the online gaming sub-licence are:
|Annual Licence Fee||€12,000 to €17,000 (depending on the Master Licence provider chosen)|
|Licence Application Fee (one-time)||€1,500|
At IGA Group, we are committed to providing the best possible service to our clients, by using our wealth of experience and knowledge to maximise the potential of their business. We have years of experience in the gaming sector, both through previous employment with gaming companies, but also through software companies providing technical solutions and also through various consultancy engagements both at a strategic, operational and regulatory level.
Our expertise covers the whole spectrum of operator activities: legal, finance, operations, online gaming regulation, compliance, AML, technical, licensing, corporate, SEO, support, company formation, mergers and acquisitions and more.
Having assisted companies in obtaining gaming licences in Malta, UK, Romania and Curaçao, we pride ourselves for being one of Malta’s most experienced iGaming service providers.