Online Gambling To Be Legalised in Curaçao

Online gambling will be legalised in Curaçao by the National Ordinance on Gambling. In the new gambling law, it is no longer prohibited to offer online gambling products. Licence holders are also allowed to offer their online platforms in other countries, unless local laws don’t allow them to. 

Since November 15, interested gambling operators can submit a permit application for a Curaçao licence under the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK). The new gambling law in Curaçao still has to be approved by the parliament. According to advisor Aideen Shortt, the ministry’s legal team is working on the final changes to prepare the draft version of the gambling law. The law is expected to be adopted in Q4 of 2023. Many international online casinos that are available in New Zealand are operated in Curaçao.

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Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA)

The regulator Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) will replace the Gaming Control Board (GCB). The personnel of the two organisations will remain virtually the same, the draft law states that GCB staff can be employed by the CGA. The online casinos that currently work with a sublicense will have three months after the introduction of the National Ordinance for Games of Chance to apply for a new licence. Both sublicense and master licensees will remain valid for another eighteen months. Curaçao currently works with sublicensees that are private companies that issue licences to gambling operators. The sublicensing setup is one of the main points of criticism as the permits are issued by companies that are not part of a governing body. In addition to gambling operators, software providers must also apply for a licence. This supplier licence is specifically meant for game developers.

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Local Citizens Allowed To Gamble Online

The Social and Economic Council previously advised that it was important that the permit retain its so-called “cocktail character”. By this, the Council referred to only having one licence for all types of games of chance. A radical change in the new gambling law is the legalisation of online gambling on the island of Curaçao. The previous law, the National Ordinance on Offshore Hazard Games, prohibited gambling companies from offering online games of chance in Curaçao itself. This ban is not included in the LOK. The same licence can be used to offer online gambling in other countries, but with a number of restrictions as not all countries allow offshore operators to offer their services in their markets.

“The CGA can revoke a Gaming License if, based on information from an authority in another country that monitors compliance with the gaming legislation in that country, it has been sufficiently established that the holder of the Gaming License holder has complied with the gambling legislation of that particular country.”

Quote from the National Ordinance on Gambling

Article 18, paragraph 2 of the draft version of the National Gaming Ordinance states that licence holders in Curaçao are allowed to use cryptocurrency on their platforms. It also states that transactions may be made with cash. This not only makes it possible to operate a crypto casino, but also give licence holders the flexibility to operate land-based betting shops or other gambling establishments.

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Protection of Vulnerable Players

The new gambling law guarantees increasing protection of vulnerable players. The term “vulnerable person” is stated several times and is defined in the draft of the law as follows:

  • Persons under the age of 18.
  • Persons who are addicted to gambling and have been banned from participating in games of chance, either forced bans or bans at their own request.
  • Persons who have been declared bankrupt.
  • Persons who have been subject to any form of court order for financial administration.

Persons belonging to this vulnerable group may not be accepted by online casinos, and can not be contracted as owners or managers of an online casino. In order to provide sufficient protection to vulnerable groups, online casinos are required to implement prevention systems so that action can be taken in the event of problematic gambling behaviour. In addition, data must be provided in a control database (CDB) so that the supervisory authority, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA), can carry out checks.

Gambling sites that receive a licence from the Curaçao Gaming Authority must offer self-exclusion options. Excluded players must be treated with the same attention as vulnerable people. Such self-exclusion applies for a minimum of six months and cannot be lifted in the meantime. The draft text does not mention a self-exclusion register such as Australian register BetStop which is checked before someone registers to a gambling site.

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Customer Complaints Portal

Players who experience problems with Curaçao online casinos can contact the authority in case of any disputes. There will be a special complaints form where players can tell the authority more about their dispute with the operator. This form will be forwarded to the gambling operator. The online casino will then have two weeks to respond to the complaint. The law requires that the permit holder must indicate within that period how the complaint will be handled. In case of violations, a sanction may be imposed on the licence holder. All these sanctions will be published in the portal that was opened on September 1. This register will be public, making all sanctions visible to everyone.

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