Curaçao opens licence application portal

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From today (1 September), operators can access licence application forms from the GCB’s new online portal, which also provides information on the licensing process. Downloads and guidance notes are also available.

Submissions of completed applications will commence in November 2023.

The opening of the portal comes as Curaçao prepares for the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK). This law will change how foreign online gambling operators are licensed in Curaçao.

The new licensing process does not reform the National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard – Curaçao’s existing legislation – but adds to it.

The application portal is open to both new operators and holders of existing sublicenses. However, the latter may continue to operate uninterrupted under their current arrangements.

After November, operators that are accepted for a licence will be issued a provisional licence from the regulator. This will be subject to providing audited policies and procedures within six months of its issuance.

Operators that are accepted for a licence will not have to re-apply under the LOK. Their position will be transferred to the new authority.

Application process for new online gaming licences

The LOK is set to be monumental for a market once considered to be passive when it came to regulation. In July 2022, after it was noted that the new, higher licensing standards could see operators withdraw from the jurisdiction, Javier Silvania, Curaçao’s finance minister said he saw “no issue” with the matter.

Curaçao’s current law mandates operators to apply to one of four existing master licensees to receive a sub-licence. Once the LOK comes into force, sub-licensees will have three months to submit a new application with the GCB for a direct operator licence.  

At iGB L!VE in July, Sixiènne Jansen, legal advisor to Curaçao’s ministry of finance detailed how the new licensing regime would work. She also outlined the application process, which consists of three forms. Each of the forms will require relevant supporting documentation.

The first is an online gaming application, in which the applicant will provide projections for business operations and strategic targets. The second is a personal declaration, detailing information about key figures involved in the business. 

A source of funds check will be carried out on any involved person with more than 10% control of the business. The final form consists of corporate and business disclosures.

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