Curaçao’s Shift in Gambling Laws
Curaçao is on the brink of implementing a groundbreaking legislation known as the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK). The proposed bill is currently under review by the country’s parliament, signifying a significant shift in the regulation of gambling activities within the region.
Current Regulatory Landscape
Under the existing law, the National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (NOOGH), the Ministry of Finance has issued notices to license holders, outlining the key milestones for a seamless transition to the impending legislative framework. This transition is set to bring about substantial changes, particularly in license types and fees for operators.
Changes in License Types and Fees
One of the primary alterations under the LOK involves adjustments to license types and associated fees for gambling operators. The proposed changes aim to streamline the licensing process and create a more robust regulatory framework.
Transition Period and “Grandfathering” Provisions
To facilitate a smooth transition, the new legislation introduces a provisional licensing mechanism, often referred to as “grandfathering.” Direct license holders under the current NOOGH as of March 31, 2024, will have the opportunity to transition seamlessly into the new framework. Applications already in progress will continue without interruption.
Important Deadlines and Prohibitions
Crucially, the LOK sets specific deadlines, prohibiting certain actions after March 31, 2024. For instance, the registration of sub-licenses on the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) portal, as well as the application for a direct license under the current legislation, will cease to be possible beyond this date.
Renewal of Gambling Licenses
In a parallel development, the GCB has initiated the renewal process for all gambling licenses in Curaçao. The renewal period spans from August 2024 to January 2025. This strategic move ensures that all operators are aligned with the new regulatory framework, promoting transparency and accountability.
Digital Seal Implementation
Effective January 1, 2024, license holders will be granted the authority to display a Digital Seal on their websites, issued by the GCB. This digital certification serves as a visible indication of compliance with the regulatory standards set forth by the gaming authority. Registered applicants in the application process may also be eligible to showcase the Digital Seal, subject to the GCB’s future policy on its issuance.
Timeline and Implementation
The ambitious gambling overhaul in Curaçao was first unveiled in July 2022, signaling a commitment to modernize the regulatory landscape. The Dutch government, acknowledging Curaçao’s reform efforts, hinted at a “new schedule” in January of the following year. Notably, the momentum gained further traction at iGB L!VE, where Sixiènne Jansen, legal advisor to Curaçao’s Ministry of Finance, provided insights into the regulatory timeline, officially commencing on September 1.
Government Endorsement and Financial Safeguards
In a testament to the significance of the LOK, Javier Silvania, Curaçao’s Minister of Finance, voiced support for the legislation in September. Silvania emphasized that the LOK would act as a crucial “safety net,” preventing the jurisdiction from potential grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
As Curaçao prepares to usher in a new era of gambling regulation through the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK), the industry awaits a comprehensive and modernized framework. The upcoming changes in license types, fees, and the introduction of digital seals underscore a commitment to transparency, accountability, and international regulatory standards. The gambling landscape in Curaçao is poised for a transformative journey, with the LOK at the helm of this evolution.
What is the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK)?
The LOK is a proposed legislation in Curaçao aimed at revolutionizing the regulation of gambling activities within the region.
When will the new legislation be implemented?
The LOK is currently under review by the country’s parliament, with the anticipated implementation date yet to be confirmed.
What changes are expected in license types and fees under the LOK?
The LOK introduces adjustments to license types and associated fees for gambling operators to streamline the licensing process.
What is the “grandfathering” provision under the LOK?
Direct license holders under the current NOOGH as of March 31, 2024, can transition seamlessly into the new framework through a provisional licensing mechanism known as “grandfathering.”
Will there be a renewal process for gambling licenses in Curaçao?
Yes, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board has initiated the renewal process for all gambling licenses, spanning from August 2024 to January 2025.
Can sub-licensees continue to operate after March 31, 2024?
Sub-licensees not registered on the GCB portal by this date will no longer be permitted to operate, necessitating a transition to the new licensing framework.
When can license holders display a Digital Seal on their websites?
From January 1, 2024, license holders can display a Digital Seal issued by the GCB, showcasing compliance with regulatory standards.
What is the significance of the Digital Seal in the new framework?
The Digital Seal serves as a visible indication of compliance with regulatory standards set forth by the gaming authority.
Why is the LOK considered a crucial step for Curaçao?
The LOK is viewed as a crucial step to modernize the regulatory landscape, ensuring transparency, accountability, and international regulatory compliance.
How has the government supported the LOK?
Javier Silvania, Curaçao’s Minister of Finance, has expressed support for the LOK, emphasizing its role as a “safety net” to prevent grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).