iGaming NEXT has prepared an overview of the upcoming changes that are part of Curacao’s gaming overhaul.

As part of Curaçao’s comprehensive revamp of its gaming regulations, operators seeking new licences will encounter a revised fee structure.

Starting from 1 September, operators can apply for a Curaçao online gambling licence, entailing an annual fee approximately €49,400 (more below).


Curaçao announced its intention to overhaul its gambling regime last summer.

The Dutch-Caribbean island’s new gambling law is called the National Ordinance on Games of Chance, or LOK for short.

A new, independent supervisory body, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA), will oversee the industry and issue licences for both B2C operators and B2B suppliers.

This presents a major change to the current system under which a few private entities hold master licences from the gaming control board and offer sub-licences to operators.

Currently, the LOK is undergoing evaluation by Curaçao’s Council of Advice, marking the concluding phase before its submission to parliament.

However, ahead of its formal enactment, the existing regulatory body, the Gaming Control Board (GCB), will start issuing new licences under the existing law, with a plan to transfer these licences into the new regulatory framework once it is enacted.

Registration portal

From 1 September, operators can apply for a new licence through a dedicated registration portal.

Additionally, sub-licence holders currently operating under an existing master licence are also required to complete their registration through this portal.

Current sub-licence holders that do not wish to apply for a licence under the LOK are not required to apply.

The existing sub-licences are valid for another six months after the new law goes into effect, but can be extended for another six months if the sub-licence holder applies for a new licence.

The portal will provide operators with access to all necessary application forms and comprehensive information about the registration requirements.

Only legal entities incorporated under the laws of Curaçao with registered office in Curaçao can apply.

“I must emphasise that the developments on the 1st September do not entail any changes to the existing legislation or permissions for existing licence holders,” said finance minister Javier Silvania.

“The Ministry of Finance and the Gaming Control Board will not prohibit ongoing activities of current licence holders but will open up the opportunity for operators to have a licence directly from the authority,” he affirmed in a recent Facebook post.

Application documentation

The application process entails the completion of three forms along with the submission of relevant supporting documents.

These forms encompass the online gaming application, the business information form and the personal history disclosure form.

Applicants will be required to furnish details about their proposed business operations, along with information about the key individuals involved and specific particulars of the Curaçao company.

The due diligence process necessitates the provision of supporting documentation.

Any ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) with 10% or more of the business ownership will have to provide fully verifiable identity information, including source of wealth and source of funds.

Audited policies and procedures covering AML, information security, responsible gaming policy, player account and fund management, as well as player account suspension and closure need to be in place during the pre-licensing phase and need to be submitted within six months of granting the licence.

Operators also need to submit agreements with platform providers.

Within two months of receiving a complete licence application, the GCB has to determine whether a licence would be granted or not.

The GCB retains the authority to revoke a licence due to non-compliance and can impose conditions or restrictions on a licence to enhance the safety, reliability, and transparency of the gaming offerings.

Licence fees

Obtaining a Curaçao online gambling licence involves an annual fee of 96,000 guilders (€49,385). These costs can be spread out through monthly instalments of 8,000 guilders (€4,115).

The licence granted by the GCB in Curaçao is valid for just one year, necessitating renewal with the same associated costs.

Gambling companies have the flexibility to register multiple domains. For each additional domain, a licence holder is required to pay an annual fee of 500 guilders (€257). There’s a maximum cap on the number of extra domains a licensee can register, set at 200.

Moreover, in Curaçao, additional charges arise when a new shareholder or UBO holding at least 10% of shares is registered.

For this process, the permit holder incurs a one-time payment of 500 guilders.

Objection and appeal process

In the event a licence application is denied, the applicant has two options for recourse.

Within six weeks of the decision, they can either raise an objection with the Minister/GCB or file an appeal with the court.

Additional requirements

Equipment and application software must undergo testing by an independent inspection body approved by the GCB.

Gambling operators holding a Curaçao licence are prohibited from accepting players from Curaçao, minors, gambling company employees, and individuals who have self-excluded.

Granting credit to players, such as allowing a negative account balance, is strictly prohibited.

Licence holders are required to submit their annual financial reports to the supervisory authority.

Additionally, a monthly change report must be submitted detailing any modifications to game systems, terms and conditions, and internal procedures.

In the event of incidents, permit holders are obligated to report them to the supervisory authority within 24 hours.

Complaints must be addressed promptly, with resolution taking place within a maximum of eight weeks.

Curaçao will start issuing direct licences to gambling operators and will hold them accountable to internationally recognised standards from 1 September.

Finance minister Javier Silvania revealed Curaçao’s decision to expedite the regulatory reform process today (22 June) during iGaming NEXT Valletta 23.

Silvania said he has become increasingly aware of “troubling corporate behaviour” in recent months that warrants “immediate action”.

Curaçao first announced its intention to overhaul the regulatory regime for the iGaming industry and abolish the current system of master and sub-licences last summer.

The new law, called the National Ordinance on Games of Chance (LOK), is currently progressing through the parliamentary process.

Earlier this month, the LOK was presented to the country’s Council of Advice, the final step before presenting it to parliament.

While he is satisfied with the progress, he said “lax practices within gambling operations, particularly concerning AML measures, fraud prevention and player protection” can no longer be tolerated.

New standards

Therefore, Silvania said he has directed the Gaming Control Board (GCB), the current regulator, to begin implementing and upholding the new standards.

The GCB will begin issuing new licences to operators under the existing legislation, with a plan to transfer these licences into the new regulatory framework once it is enacted.

To ensure a smooth transition for existing operators willing to adopt the new regime, the government will allow for “uninterrupted business operations”.

The GCB is set to launch a dedicated portal for operators to register, facilitating the process of obtaining a direct licence.

“It pains me to hear that Curaçao licences have been labelled as ‘quick and easy to obtain’, accompanied by ‘lesser regulations’ and ‘lax monitoring’ compared to other jurisdictions,” Silvania said.

However, Silvania stressed that “this sentiment will be unequivocally reversed through the new legislation”.

Going forward, the finance minister said Curaçao “wants to know who owns the businesses operating from within our borders by conducting appropriate and consistent levels of due diligence”.

He added: “We require transparency regarding the source of funds flowing into our country, and we insist that operators adhere to legislation that aligns with reputable jurisdictions and, at the very least, meets the minimum requirements of international laws and guidance on anti-money laundering.

Lastly, Curaçao will “demand robust player protection and data security”.

Regulatory cooperation

The LOK, which includes the establishment of a completely new regulator body known as the Curaçao Gaming Authority, will not only prevent but also mitigate any unwelcome and unlawful activities, according to the minister.

This will ensure that Curaçao would no longer be known as the “red-headed step-child” of the gambling industry, he stressed.

Silvania also pledged close cooperation with other regulatory authorities around the world.

“By collaborating with and working alongside other jurisdictions, we ensure a level playing field for operators and suppliers, all while safeguarding the interests of players and preserving the integrity of the gaming industry as a whole,” he concluded.  

Silvania highlighted that the majority of Curaçao-licensed operators “uphold integrity and adhere to best practices”, but the country can no longer overlook the fact that some have tarnished our nation’s reputation”.

Curaçao-based Blaze.com has refuted allegations of wrongdoing and welcomed investigations initiated by Curaçao’s finance minister Javier Silvania.

Yesterday (19 June), Silvania requested that Curaçao authorities investigate reported abuses at Prolific Trade NV, a company based in Curaçao that operates the website Blaze.com. The management of Blaze.com is reportedly carried out by trust service provider Emoore NV.

Blaze has come under increased scrutiny in Brazil due to media allegations of money laundering, fraudulent practices targeting customers, and the misappropriation of funds for influencers involved in promoting the online casino.

These allegations primarily stem from the videos of Brazilian investigator and YouTuber Daniel Penin.

In response, Emoore expressed confidence in and welcomed the investigations.

The company stated: “The alleged complaints originate from an influencer who has made accusations on his YouTube channel without any foundation or factual basis.”

Emoore also emphasised that they have not received any complaints from Brazilian authorities.

Additionally, Emoore stated that throughout its 17-year history, the firm has consistently adhered to the supervisory regulations set by the Curaçao Central Bank and maintained the highest standards.

The company highlighted that its employees undergo regular compliance and trust-specific training.

Furthermore, Emoore stressed that Blaze.com is a respected online gambling provider and that Prolific Trade NV operates in compliance with all relevant regulations in Curaçao.

Blaze.com clarifications

In a separate statement spanning nine pages, Blaze.com addressed several speculations and allegations made on social media about the way it operates.

“Our gaming platform complies with all regulations related to online gaming,” Blaze.com said.

“This includes ensuring that players are of legal age, that games are fair and not rigged in any way, and that measures are in place to protect against money laundering and other fraudulent activities.

“Additionally, Blaze.com is committed to responsible gaming practices.”

The company also clarified that it does not pay any form of commission or revenue share to influencers for any losses incurred by users they have referred to the platform, and instead compensates them with a fixed fee.

Moreover, Blaze.com said it does not prevent customers from withdrawing their funds.

The company highlighted that customer withdrawals may be subject to review to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and prevent fraud. Delayed withdrawals may occur if suspicious activity is detected.

Additionally, Blaze.com said it is committed to conducting business in an open, transparent and legal manner, after the question of shell companies and a potential presence in the US came up.

“We would like to clarify that we do not utilise any shell companies in our operations. The use of shell companies often implies a level of secrecy or an attempt to obscure true business dealings, and this is not aligned with Blaze.com’s values or business practices,” the company said.

“Furthermore, at the time of this response, Blaze.com does not maintain any legal entities in Delaware or any other US state.”

Lastly, Blaze.com said it has a multi-stakeholder ownership structure, with no single owner.

While there “is no intent to be secretive about the ownership of Blaze.com”, due to current circumstances and advice from security experts, it is not “considered safe to disclose names of any individual stakeholder.”

Curaçao’s finance minister Javier Silvania has asked the Gaming Control Board of Curaçao (GCB) to investigate accusations of misconduct and irregularities at online casino Blaze.

Blaze has come under scrutiny in Brazil following allegations of money laundering, fraudulent practices targeting customers, and the diversion of funds to influencers involved in promoting the online casino.

At the core of the allegations lie the claims put forth by Brazilian investigator and YouTuber Daniel Penin.

In a video released three weeks ago, Penin unravelled a complex network of corporations that purportedly concealed the actual individuals behind the operations of the casino.

Penin’s video, titled ‘Take from the poor and give to influencers,’ claims that Blaze is owned by Profilic Trade N.V., a company managed by E-Moore B.V., a trust company licensed in Curaçao.

Swift action

Silvania, who is responsible for Curaçao’s online gaming sector, has requested that the GCB investigate these allegations.

Moreover, Silvania has urged the GCB to take immediate and decisive action within the scope of its existing authority and resources if a licence holder is found to be implicated

Furthermore, Silvania has urged the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) to conduct its own investigation. Local trust service providers are licensed and overseen by the CBCS.

Curaçao’s current supervisory law does not directly regulate online gaming companies operating under a contract, known as a ‘sub-licence,’ with a licence holder in Curaçao.

This makes it challenging for Curaçao to effectively regulate the online gaming sector.

In response to these challenges, Curaçao has initiated reforms to overhaul its regulatory regime.

New law in final stages

The new law, called the Law on Games of Chance (LOK), is scheduled to be introduced later this year.

The LOK will establish the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) as the new regulator, equipped with internationally accepted standards to oversee online gaming in Curaçao.

Silvania’s ministry stated that although the allegations have not yet been fully investigated or confirmed by local authorities, they acknowledge the “negative portrayal of Curaçao in the international community.”

“Implementing the LOK and establishing the CGA is seen as a way to prevent and mitigate illicit activities associated with Curaçao structures,” the ministry added.

The draft LOK was presented to the Council of Advice in early June, marking the final step before it is presented to Parliament.

Ahead of the publication of Curaçao’s new gambling regulations, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has reached out to finance minister Javier Silvania in an effort to prevent Curaçao-licensed operators from targeting Australian players.

iGaming NEXT has learned that Curaçao has made significant progress in developing its new licensing model and that the new gambling regulations will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The Dutch-Caribbean island initially announced it would have new gaming regulation in place by Q2 2023.

Curaçao’s intention to implement a new iGaming regime and tighten up oversight of the industry did not go down well with some sectors of the iGaming industry that were in favour of the island’s lenient approach to gambling regulation.

iGaming NEXT discovered that Curaçao-licensed companies were working on back-up plans behind-the-scenes due to concerns that the island would move to introduce new deposit thresholds and trigger KYC procedures.

Last year, Silvania said he had listened to the concerns of the industry and Curaçao was moving towards “more innovative legislation” as part of a broader process to modernise its gaming sector.

Curaçao’s new gambling law is called the National Ordinance on Games of Chance, or LOK for short.

Under the LOK, companies will be able to apply for both B2C and B2B licences, which will be valid for a period of five years.

The current structure of master licences and sub-licences will no longer be allowed.

The newly established Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) will be tasked with the licensing, enforcement and supervision of all licence holders.

A letter from Australia

In a recent development, Silvania shared a letter on his Facebook page that he received from the Australian media watchdog ahead of the publication of Curaçao’s new regulatory regime.

The ACMA pointed out that it had identified several Curaçao-licensed websites that are operating in Australia in breach of Australia’s 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, which prohibits iGaming and in-play sports betting.

The ACMA said that it notified both the online casinos and their master licensees to cease offering gambling services in Australia.

Despite the Australian regulator’s writing, the companies continued to operate in Australia, the ACMA said.

“This may be relevant to CGA’s assessment of the suitability of a gaming operator to hold a licence under Curaçao’s reformed regulatory regime,” the ACMA wrote in its letter to Minister Silvania.

The Australian regulator added that due to the global nature of online gambling, it can be challenging to enforce Australian law when an entity is located overseas.

Therefore, the ACMA said it “would welcome any opportunity to engage with the CGA once established, to share information or coordinate action against the provision of online gambling services in breach of Australian laws”.

Earlier this year, the ACMA already issued IP blocking orders against several Curaçao-licensed websites.

As Curaçao inches closer to implementing a new iGaming regime under pressure from the Netherlands, the island’s finance minister Javier Silvania has provided a progress update.

Last month, iGaming NEXT reported that radical reform could mean the island’s licensed companies move elsewhere and that operators are already working on back-up plans should the Dutch-Caribbean island introduce new deposit thresholds and trigger player KYC procedures.

In response to questions sent by iGaming NEXT, Silvania, who is responsible for the new law, has now said there might be a potential delay in adopting the legislation.

However, he also highlighted that the country is too far ahead in the process to take on the industry’s suggestion of a step-by-step regulatory reform, rather than a massive overnight overhaul.

iGaming NEXT: Could you please give us an overview of Curaçao as a gaming jurisdiction? What’s the sector’s size and economic importance?

Javier Silvania: The online gaming sector in Curaçao is currently not properly regulated. As such, we should be cautious when trying to estimate the sector’s size.

Although most fees are currently being paid to the master licence holders, it still creates job opportunities within the trust sector in Curaçao.

We are hoping to increase the economic importance of the online gaming sector in Curaçao by introducing legislation and proper supervision.

iGN: Could you kindly provide a brief update on the regulatory overhaul? At what stage of the process are you and what elements are you currently working on? 

JS: The national ordinance regulating (online) gaming has already been drafted as well as the corresponding national decree. The law has been reviewed by the government’s legal department and their comments are currently being included in the legislation.

Curaçao finance minister Javier Silvania: “Crypto gambling is not yet included in the legislation and offering these services will not be possible with a Curaçao licence for the time being.”

Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance is currently consulting Curaçao’s trust sector for their final comments on the content of the law. In the coming six months, the law will be going through the final phases of the legislative process with ultimately a voting in parliament.

iGN: Operators fear that Curaçao’s new gaming laws will introduce deposit thresholds and trigger player KYC procedures, which will increase costs. What comments would you like to make about Curaçao’s plans?

JS: We are currently working on AML/KYC procedures that fit within the industry, which are also comparable with procedures that are usually applied in other countries. 

iGN: How do you intend to regulate crypto gambling?

JS: Crypto gambling is not yet included in the legislation and offering these services will not be possible with a Curaçao licence for the time being.

iGN: What are the greatest challenges that you are facing in developing the new framework?

JS: The greatest challenge is certainly finding the perfect balance between the needs of the government and the regulators, the operators, the trust sector and, of course, the player.

iGN: What details can you share about the timeline for the roll-out of the new regulations?

JS: We are currently aiming to pass the national ordinance and the national decree in March 2023. However, this depends on several factors that are not within our control. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the legislation will enter into force in March 2023.

iGN: Some operators commented that they would prefer a step-by-step regulatory reform rather than a massive overnight overhaul. How do you feel about taking onboard suggestions such as these?

JS: We are already very far with the process, and it is no longer possible to apply that approach. However, we have included a transition period in the national ordinance for operators who are currently providing online gaming services with a Curaçao licence.

iGN: What final message would you like to share with the international iGaming community about Curaçao and its new gambling regulatory framework?

JS: Curaçao is working hard on the regulatory framework as well as the new supervisory body. Soon Curaçao will have proper legislation and supervision as well as player protection.

We would like Curaçao to be recognised internationally as a country in which iGaming is properly regulated and supervised. We would like to be the go-to country of online gaming licences.

Curaçao intends to implement a new iGaming regime by March 2023 but a radical overhaul could mean the island’s licensed companies move elsewhere.

iGaming NEXT understands that operators are already working on back-up plans, with Costa Rica, the Isle of Man and Alderney being lined up as potential alternatives.

In CEO circles, there are concerns that the Dutch-Caribbean island will introduce new deposit thresholds and trigger player KYC procedures.

One chief executive, who spoke to iGaming NEXT on the condition of anonymity, said the additional checks will increase operator costs and could even put Curaçao out of business as an iGaming hotbed.

Still in the works

Curaçao is still working out the details of its new framework. The first public consultation with stakeholders took place last Friday (12 August).

However, in July, the Curaçao government confirmed its intention to tighten up oversight of the industry by establishing a supervisory regime that closely resembles the model developed in Malta by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

Government consultant Mario Galea: “One of the toughest challenges we have at the moment is building the right tools for the regulator to be able to effectively monitor and supervise crypto payments.”

A new, independent supervisory body, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA), will oversee the industry and issue licences for both B2C operators and B2B suppliers.

This presents a major change to the current system under which a few private entities hold master licences from the gaming control board and offer sub-licences to operators.

Mario Galea, a former MGA chief executive and chairman, who advises Curaçao’s government on the regulatory overhaul, told iGaming NEXT that Curaçao hopes to have the new regime up and running by March 2023.

Dutch pressure

The transformation is partly the result of pressure from the Netherlands to introduce new restrictions and rules for the iGaming sector and partly born out of the desire to develop iGaming into a real economic pillar of the country.

The Caribbean region is heavily dependent on tourism. When Covid-19 struck, visits dropped dramatically by an estimated 60% to 80%, which had a devastating effect on the region’s economies, including that of Curaçao.

To reduce the consequences of the pandemic, Curaçao, which is part of the Dutch Caribbean, received financial support from the Netherlands.

However, in return for the recovery funds, the Dutch government told Curaçao that it needs to revamp its online gambling laws.

The Netherlands introduced its own regulatory regime in October 2021 and has long been discontent with Curaçao-based operators targeting customers in regulated markets, including its own.

In an effort to diversify Curacao’s economy, finance minister Javier Silvania is keen to see iGaming develop a greater economic relevance for the country and believes that stricter rules will only serve to strengthen the sector.

According to preliminary plans, the new regulator will have the power to grant and revoke gaming licences and ensure that Curaçao-based operators pay taxes and licence fees in the country, thereby creating additional income for the Dutch-Caribbean island.

Crypto challenge

However, it won’t be smooth sailing.

An industry-wide overhaul is never without its obstacles, but in this case it means the introduction of enhanced responsible gaming and AML measures, which to date are less rigorous in Curaçao than in other jurisdictions.

Moreover, many Curaçao-licensed iGaming sites accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment methods, and the island nation wants to not only retain that business, but also use it as a base to develop a crypto payments sector.

“One of the toughest challenges we have at the moment is building the right tools for the regulator to be able to effectively monitor and supervise crypto payments,” Galea said.

While the Central Bank of Curaçao can introduce crypto-specific regulations for services and activities that are carried in and out of Curacao, Galea said it is important for the regulator to ensure that “the coin or the token and the crypto service provider are regulated in an acceptable jurisdiction and then carry out the monitoring by way of reporting”.

Curaçao is looking to overhaul its entire gaming regime, including land-based casinos, the national lottery and betting on horseracing.

The end result, Galea said, will be “a modern regime that will regulate the means of carrying out the game instead of regulating the game”.

Existing sub-licences can be converted to a transitional licence that will last for 12 months.

Once the new regime is in place, B2C operators will be required to pay a licence application fee of around €4,000 and a licence fee of around €12,000 per year. There will also be a €250 regulatory fee per month per URL. However, all fees are still under review and may change by the time the final regulation is published.

Licensed companies will also be required to have at least three employees in so-called key positions based on the island within two years of being granted a licence and will be subject to enhanced money laundering measures.

Exploring other alternatives

Meanwhile, the iGaming industry is waiting with anticipation to learn more about Curaçao’s plans.

In 2021, Dutch investigative journalism platform Follow the Money stated that around 12,000 gambling sites were established in Curaçao and estimated that 40% of global unregulated gaming runs through the island.

The anonymous C-level source told iGaming NEXT: “It’s surprising to see that a large portion of revenue of many operators comes through Curaçao. Many companies are now looking into other licence options because they are afraid that Curacao’s rules will be very strict.”

Costa Rica, which offers a data processing licence that allows gambling, is one alternative being considered by operators.

However, all is not lost for Curaçao, and much depends on how fast it will move on the new regulation.

Incremental changes, rather than  “massive overnight reform” as one source put it, would be preferable for the industry. But will regulators take that on board?