Obtaining a gambling license in Curaçao - YB Case 2024

Obtaining a gambling license in Curaçao

Obtaining a gambling license in Curaçao

Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean Sea, has attracted gambling companies from around the world for decades. Its history in the gambling sector began in the 1990s when the government decided to liberalize the gambling industry and established a licensing system for online casinos in Curaçao. Since then, this island has become one of the pioneers in the online gambling domain.

Over time, thanks to its geographical location, stable economic background and favorable legislation, Curaçao has become one of the key gambling hubs in the world.

Why Curaçao has become a popular gambling jurisdiction

There are several key reasons why many entrepreneurs previously sought to open a gambling business in Curaçao:

  1. Favorable legislation: one of the first countries to grant licenses for internet casinos was Curaçao. As a result, a clear and adaptable regulatory framework that promoted corporate expansion was established.
  2. Economic stability: thanks to the stable economy and the support of the local government, companies felt confident investing in the island's gambling business.
  3. Technical infrastructure: the island has a modern IT infrastructure, making it an ideal location for developing and hosting online platforms.
  4. Reputation and trust: over the years, Curaçao has gained a reputation as a reliable and transparent jurisdiction, which has helped attract major global players in this field.

Curaçao has therefore become a desirable location for the growth of the gaming industry due to its advantageous laws, stable economy, and excellent technical infrastructure.

Changes to the Curaçao licensing system

Since September 2023, changes have occurred in the gambling licensing and regulatory system in Curaçao, which were aimed at strengthening control, increasing safety standards and transparency. Let's consider the most significant of them in detail:

  1. Ban on transferring or leasing licenses: as of September 1, 2023, companies will not be able to transfer or lease their licenses. This decision is aimed at eliminating the possibility of circumventing the new requirements and ensuring that each licensee adheres to the standards.
  2. The Curaçao Gaming Authority is the only independent organization that will be in charge of granting gaming licenses in Curaçao. By doing this, licensing procedures will be more regulated and coordinated, making communication between gaming firms and regulators easier.
  3. Increased requirements for companies: all organizations wishing to obtain a license will have to demonstrate their financial reliability, integrity and qualifications. This will provide greater confidence in the reliability and integrity of every licensed company.
  4. Mandatory audits and inspections: all licensed companies will undergo periodic audits and inspections to guarantee adherence. This ensures that high standards are maintained and that there are no violations by companies.
  5. Introducing strict rules for responsible gambling: this clause aims to protect players by ensuring their safety and protection from addiction.
  6. Key employees on the island: to register a gambling company in Curaçao, each licensee will be required to appoint a minimum of three key employees to work directly in Curaçao. This will strengthen control and interaction between regulators and companies.
  7. New rules for hiring personnel: now priority is given to local qualified personnel, which will ensure local economic development and contribute to the high-quality execution of tasks.
  8. Licensing fee changes: the fee for obtaining a new license will increase, which may affect the decision of some companies to enter the Curaçao market.
  9. Transition to a new license: current licensees will have the possibility to transition to a new license, while having 18 months to adapt to the new conditions.

The overall goal of these modifications is to make Curaçao's gaming environment safer, more open, and responsible—a development that may be essential to the industry's long-term survival and expansion on the island.

Major changes in regulatory policy

Prohibition of issuing sublicenses: causes and consequences.

Reasons:
  • Ensuring transparency: a primary motive for implementing such a prohibition is the desire to prevent the circumvention of established norms and standards through the transfer of licenses to other companies. In the past, certain companies have used this method to evade accountability or shirk specific obligations.
  • Compliance assurance: by prohibiting the transfer and lease of gambling licenses in Curaçao, regulatory authorities ensure that each company operating under a specific license genuinely meets all established requirements.
Consequences:
  • Enhancement of licensee accountability: each company will bear full responsibility for compliance with the terms and conditions of its license, as the non-transferability eliminates the possibility of shifting responsibility to other companies.

Formation of gambling management as a single regulatory body.

Differences from the previous system:
  • Centralization: previously, multiple entities or agencies could have been responsible for the issuance of gaming licenses in Curaçao. Now, all functions will be managed by a single centralized authority, streamlining interaction and coordination.
Role in issuing licenses:
  • Strict controls: the Authority will carefully review each license application to ensure that the company meets the required requirements and standards.
  • Response to changes in the industry: thanks to centralization, management will be able to quickly adapt to innovations in the gambling industry and make necessary changes to licensing procedures.

Intensification of criteria for prospective licensees

What changed?
  • Financial Reliability: organizations seeking to obtain an online gambling license in Curaçao must demonstrate their financial stability and dependability. This may involve submitting income statements, balance sheets, as well as information regarding financial reserves.
  • Integrity and expertise: companies must validate their reputation and qualifications in the gambling sector. This may involve the verification of references, the review of any past infractions, as well as the experience and qualifications of key personnel.
  • Safety and transparency: all licensed companies are required to undergo mandatory periodic audits and inspections to ensure compliance with established standards. Additionally, stringent responsible gambling regulations have become obligatory for all licensees.
  • Key personnel in Curaçao: it is now mandated that at least three key employees of the company must conduct their activities directly within the territory of Curaçao.
Which companies may be at risk?
  • Emerging startups: they may lack sufficient financial reserves or an operational history to substantiate their reliability and qualifications for establishing a gambling enterprise in Curaçao.
  • Companies with opaque histories: if a company has had past violations or cannot provide evidence of its integrity, it may encounter difficulties in obtaining a license.
  • International companies: organizations primarily based outside Curaçao may encounter challenges in recruiting local specialists and restructuring their organizational framework.
  • Companies neglecting responsible gambling: those who previously disregarded the standards of responsible gambling may now find themselves compelled to fundamentally alter their policies and approaches to operations.

Increased emphasis on security and transparency

Introduction of a system of periodic audits

Frequency and methodology:
  • Audits will be conducted every 6 months for new companies that have obtained a gambling license in Curaçao during the first two years, followed by annual inspections for established players.
  • The methodology will encompass the verification of financial documentation, analysis of software functionality, scrutiny for compliance with security standards, and examination of adherence to responsible gambling regulations.
Expected business consequences:
  • Large administrative costs due to the need to prepare for audits.
  • Possible fines and temporary suspension of activities in case of violations.
  • Increased player confidence in licensed platforms due to increased controls.

When registering a gambling license in Curaçao, you must now adhere to the rules of responsible gambling

  1. Betting limits: set limits on maximum bets on games to prevent players from overspending.
  2. Game pauses: introducing the ability for players to set cool down periods during which they cannot participate in games.
  3. Self-exclusion: players can self-exclude themselves from the game for a specified period or permanently.
  4. Providing information: mandatory provision of information about responsible gambling and resources to help addicted gamblers on casino sites.

How can current and future licensees adapt to innovation?

  1. Staff training: regular training for staff on new standards and requirements to ensure compliance.
  2. Technical training: adapting or updating gaming software to meet new requirements, especially in relation to responsible gambling.
  3. Partnership with experts: to properly operate a gambling business in Curaçao, it is necessary to collaborate with legal and consulting firms to ensure compliance with all requirements.
  4. Proactive communication: open dialogue with regulators to clarify requirements and better understand expectations.
  5. Financial preparation: budget planning taking into account possible fines and costs of adapting to new rules.

Key changes in organizational structure requirements

Appointment of key employees for registration of a gambling license in Curaçao: roles, responsibilities, requirements.

Role

Responsibilities

Requirements

Operations Director

  • Coordination of all operational processes.
  • Responsibility for achieving corporate goals.
  • Management of company resources and budgets.
  • Higher education in management or economics.
  • At least 5 years of experience in gambling.
  • Leadership and teamwork skills.

General Counsel

  • Providing legal advice and support.
  • Monitoring compliance with legislation.
  • Participation in legal analysis and drafting of contracts.
  • Legal education.
  • At least 3 years of experience in the gambling industry.
  • Knowledge of local legislation.

Financial Director

  • Company financial management.
  • Budget planning and financial forecasting.
  • Reporting to regulatory authorities.
  • Higher education in finance or accounting.
  • Experience in the gambling industry will be an advantage.
  • Financial analysis skills.

Security Director

  • Gaming platform security monitoring.
  • Security incident response.
  • Maintaining safety standards.
  • Education in IT or cybersecurity.
  • Minimum 3 years of experience in cybersecurity.
  • Knowledge of gambling safety standards.

This is a basic division of roles and responsibilities. Depending on the specific structure of the company and its needs, functions and requirements can be supplemented and adjusted.

Problems of finding and employing specialists when starting a gambling business in Curaçao

  1. Geographical remoteness: Curaçao is a distant island in the Caribbean Sea, which may pose challenges in attracting top-tier specialists due to geographical and logistical constraints.
  2. Local labor market: despite the high qualifications of many local specialists, the island's labor market cannot always meet the peculiar needs of the gaming industry.
  3. Cultural and linguistic barriers: despite Dutch being the official language of Curaçao, the majority of the population speaks Papiamento. This may necessitate extra training for the proper functioning of a gaming company in Curaçao.
  4. Employment standards: considering the new regulations, all employees must be formally employed within the territory of Curaçao, which may increase administrative expenses and complicate the hiring procedure.

Revisiting organizational structures: examples and recommendations

Decentralization of functions
  • Description: transfer of some functions that do not require presence in Curaçao to other regions or countries.
  • Recommendation: for those functions that are not core under the new rules, consider decentralizing them. This can help reduce pressure on the local labor market and reduce operating costs.
Internal outsourcing
  • Description: creation of subsidiaries or partnerships in Curaçao, specializing in specific functions, such as IT support or marketing.
  • Recommendation: this may allow for more flexible management of resources, focusing on the specifics of the local market.
Training and development of local personnel
  • Description: Actively invest in training and education of local talent to meet corporate needs.
  • Recommendation: Establish partnerships with local educational institutions or organize corporate training programs. This could be a long-term solution to Curaçao’s skills shortage.

Rules for employment in Curaçao

Official employment rules for starting a gambling business in Curaçao: process, documentation, conditions.

Parameter

Description

Employment process

Conclusion of an employment contract.

Registration of the agreement with the relevant authority.

Entry of an employee into the employee register.

Required Documentation

Candidate’s application.

Copies of documents confirming education and qualifications.

Passport or other identification document.

Employment record book (if available).

Medical certificate (depending on the specifics of the job).

Photos of the applicant (in some cases).

Basic conditions

Compliance with the minimum wage established by the legislation of Curaçao.

Work no more than the number of hours per week established by law without overtime.

Providing vacation, sick leave and other social benefits in accordance with the law.

Guaranteed respect for the rights and interests of the employee within the framework of labor legislation.

Notice that this table represents a generalized process of official employment for launching a gambling company in Curaçao, which may vary depending on specific laws and regulations. Therefore, for a precise understanding of all nuances, it is recommended to consult labor law specialists in this jurisdiction.

Salary trends and recommendations in Curaçao

Trends:
  1. Competitive rates: considering the economic growth and increasing demand for skilled personnel, numerous registered gaming companies in Curaçao will commence offering elevated remunerations to attract and retain specialists.
  2. Introduction of a bonus system: the development of a system of bonuses and awards for outstanding achievements or completion of key tasks will become increasingly popular. It can also be a tool for stimulating productivity.
  3. Additional benefits: in addition to the basic salary, companies may offer additional benefits such as health insurance, corporate training or flexible work hours.
Recommendations:
  1. Market Research: regularly conduct labor market research to understand current salary levels in your industry and region.
  2. Motivation: in order to launch a gaming company in Curaçao, develop a motivation system not only based on financial incentives, but also taking into account professional growth, training, and development.
  3. Transparency: communicate clearly and clearly with your employees about salaries and career opportunities.
  4. Adapt to change: in light of constant economic fluctuations and regulatory changes, be prepared to quickly adapt your compensation system.
  5. Professional development: invest in the training and development of your employees. This will not only improve their qualifications, but also make your company more attractive to potential candidates.

In conclusion, to maintain competitiveness in the labor market of Curaçao, it is recommended to regularly review one's wage policy and adapt to the current economic and legislative realities.

Financial changes and their impact on business

Detailed analysis of the new license cost: initial fee and annual payments

Obtaining a gambling license in Curaçao in 2024 has become associated with a change in the cost of its acquisition and subsequent maintenance. This undoubtedly impacts the financial strategy of companies seeking to initiate or continue their operations in this jurisdiction. Let's delve into these changes in more detail.

Initial fee
  • Amount: new companies seeking to obtain a gaming license in Curaçao must pay an initial fee of 5,000 USD.
  • Goal: the payment for the administrative expenses related to processing the application, checking documentation, doing preliminary audits, and carrying out other steps required before a license is issued.
Annual fees
  • Amount: after obtaining a gambling license in Curaçao, the company is required to pay an annual fee of 15,000 USD.
  • Purpose: these funds are used to support the activities of the regulatory body, pay for periodic audits, ensure compliance with responsible gambling standards and other regulatory activities.
  • Frequency: payment is made annually, and its timely receipt is one of the key conditions for license renewal.

In conclusion, the new licensing conditions in Curaçao since September 2023 render the process more cost-intensive for businesses. This may serve as a deterrent for certain companies, particularly those embarking on their journey in the gambling industry. However, it could also elevate the status and prestige of the Curaçao license, rendering it more appealing to major market players willing to invest in stringent and responsible regulation.

Adaptation for current license holders: conditions, terms, recommendations.

Parameter

Description

Recommendations

Transition to new conditions

Current holders of gambling licenses in Curaçao, obtained under the old conditions, are required to transition to a new license.

Review the terms of the new license and assess whether they are beneficial or acceptable to your business.

Adaptation period

After expressing their intention to switch to a new license, companies have 18 months to adapt.

  • Develop an action plan, dividing tasks by month.
  • Ensure that necessary requirements are completed within the required time frame.

Cost

The new initial fee and annual fees must be taken into account, even if the license was previously obtained at a different cost.

  • Review your financial plan to account for new expenses.
  • Ensure timely payments for license renewal.

Personnel requirements

Take into account the new requirements for appointing key personnel and their employment in Curaçao.

  • Start recruiting and training early.
  • Ensure compliance with formal employment requirements.

Audits and inspections

All licensed companies in Curaçao are now subject to mandatory periodic audits.

  • Make sure all necessary documents and reports are ready.
  • Cooperate with auditors by providing required information.

Responsible gambling

It is necessary to comply with enhanced responsible gambling requirements.

  • Review current practices and make adjustments where necessary.
  • Train staff on responsible gambling principles.

Current licensees should view the new changes as an opportunity to review and optimize their business. Effective adaptation to new conditions can become a competitive advantage in the market.

Registration of a gambling license in Curaçao 2024

List of documents for obtaining a gambling license in Curaçao 2024.

Document

Short description

1

Application for a license

An official document in which a company expresses its desire to obtain a license.

2

Constituent documents of the company

This includes the company's articles of association, an extract from the trade register and other documents confirming the legal existence of the company.

3

Financial reports for the last 3 years

Documents confirming the financial stability of the company.

4

Software Certificates

Confirmation that the software used meets the safety and fairness standards of the game.

5

Business-plan

To apply for registration of a gambling license in Curaçao, you must provide a description of the business model, income and expense forecasts, and development strategies.

6

Information about key company employees (example)

Resumes, copies of diplomas, letters of recommendation and other documents confirming the qualifications of key employees.

7

Confirmation of solvency (example)

It is necessary to confirm the solvency of the company within the established procedure

8

Confirmation of compliance with responsible gambling rules

Documents and declarations that the company will comply with established rules of responsible gambling.

9

Player data protection information

To obtain a gambling license in Curaçao, you must provide a description of the security systems that prevent the leakage of users’ personal and financial information.

10

Evidence of impeccable reputation of owners and managers

May include certificates from law enforcement agencies, letters of recommendation from banks and other financial institutions.

11

Confirmation of the appointment of key employees in Curaçao

Documents confirming the official employment of designated key employees directly on the territory of Curaçao.

12

AML Compliance Information

Documents describing the measures a company takes to prevent money laundering through its platform.

It is imperative to acknowledge that this list serves as a provisional guideline, and requirements may vary depending on specific circumstances or legislative amendments in Curaçao. It is strongly advised to consult with experts in the field of gambling license registration in Curaçao.

Types of gambling licenses in Curaçao

Parameter

Registration of the main license in Curaçao

Registration of a sublicense in Curaçao

Description

A license granting full rights to conduct and manage gambling.

Until September 1, 2023, this sublicense, granted by the holder of the primary license, enabled the conduct of activities within its ambit. Since September 2023, obtaining a sublicense in Curaçao has become unattainable.

Duration time

Typically for 5 years, with the possibility of extension.

The validity period depended on the agreements with the holder of the full license, but not longer than the validity period of the main license

Documents to be received

A complete list of documents confirming reliability, qualifications and compliance with standards.

There was a simplified package of documents, since the main license holder was checked.

Application area

Full range of gambling games: casinos, sports betting, lotteries, poker, etc.

Depends on the conditions set by the holder of the main license.

Responsibility

Full responsibility before the law of Curaçao and the players.

Responsibility was shared between the sublicense holder and the main licensee.

Cost

High due to a wider range of rights and responsibilities.

It was low, since the sublicense was limited by the terms of the main license.

Audit requirements

Regular audits and strict inspections by the regulatory body.

Subject to conditions set by the underlying license holder, but often less stringent.

Be advised that specifics may fluctuate depending upon contemporaneous modifications within Curaçao's legal code and regulatory stipulations. It is highly recommended to conduct comprehensive due diligence or procure counsel from specialists prior to reaching a determination to incorporate a gambling enterprise within Curaçao.

Conclusion

Summarizes key changes and their potential impact on the market.

Curaçao's gaming sector regulations have experienced a number of significant modifications since 2023. Both the regulatory structure and the specific criteria for operators are innovative. Among the important things to emphasize are:

  • A ban on the transfer or rental of licenses, which reduces the opportunities for prompt entry into the market or business restructuring.
  • Strengthening the role of the Gaming Authority as the sole regulatory body, which simplifies the system of control and coordination, but may also introduce additional bureaucratic obstacles.
  • Increasing requirements for those wishing to obtain a gambling license in Curaçao, focused on proving their financial reliability, transparency and qualifications. This may limit the entry of new players into the market.
  • The mandatory appointment of three key employees working in the territory of Curaçao makes adjustments to the organizational structure of the companies.

Such changes will undoubtedly impact the competitiveness of Curaçao as a jurisdiction for the gambling industry, raising the barrier to entry for new companies and necessitating adaptation from existing operators.

Proposing the choice of the Comoro Islands as a budget alternative.

Anjouan could be of interest to businesses looking for more affordable and adaptable jurisdictions for their gaming operations. This island in the Indian Ocean offers the following business opportunities:

  • Streamlined application procedure for licensesCompanies can start operating more quickly in Comoros since the procedure of getting a gaming license is simpler and faster than in many other countries.
  • Economical conditionsThere are no start-up or annual fees in Anjouan, making it attractive to start-ups and companies on a tight budget.
  • Flexibility in requirementsThere are no strict requirements for the physical presence of a company on Anjouan, which provides greater freedom in choosing a management and operation model.

However, as with the selection of any other jurisdiction, it is recommended to conduct a detailed analysis. Yes, Anjouan is less known on the international stage, but this does not necessarily imply the absence of advantages for certain business models. Thus, while looking for alternatives to Curaçao in terms of budgetary solutions, it's crucial to consider all the advantages and disadvantages, speak with experts, and base your choice on the company's long-term strategic goals.

Comparison of the jurisdictions of Anjouan and Curaçao

Parameter

Anjouan

Curaçao

Opening a bank account

Available (at a local bank, including for non-residents)

N/A

Requirement for local employees

None

Requires 3 local employees

Salary expenses for local employees

None

Expenses due to mandatory employment

Payment for license renewal

No limit (one-time payment)

Annually

Audit

No special requirements

Mandatory, every 6 months for the first 2 years of a new company, then every year

Process of obtaining a license

Fast and simple, less stringent requirements

Comprehensive, with detailed testing and strict requirements

Capital requirements

None

Initial contribution of 5,000 USD.

Annual fee is 15,000 USD.

Requirements for the physical presence of the company

None

The presence of registered local servers.

The existence of a local physical office for employees of the company from Curaçao.

Responsible gambling system

None or less developed

Strict rules and requirements

Documentation prerequisites for obtaining a license

More simplified

Detailed list of documents

License types

Basic license without expiration date

Basic license with annual payments

Our company's specialists are prepared to offer comprehensive consultation services for the registration of gambling businesses in Curaçao, and we can also provide assistance with relocating your business from this jurisdiction to other relevant options in 2024. To contact our experts, please fill out the feedback form.

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