Curaçao – a destination that has been known for its liberal gambling and casino laws – has unveiled an intention to change some aspects of gambling regulation, as local authorities are planning to initiate a complete overhaul of the sector and introduce a new watchdog for the industry.
As announced by the Government, Curaçao’s Council of Ministers has given its approval to a bill that is set to fully overhaul the local gambling industry. The implementation of the new regulations would see the country form a new, independent gambling watchdog that is set to be called the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA). This new regulatory body is set to issue licenses to business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) companies, and since the local Government plans to boost its revenue derived from the gambling sector, the operating permits will come with fees.
The Caribbean island’s authorities further revealed that the existing sub-licenses are set to be integrated into the new system. So, their holders will receive 12 months to convert their sub-licenses into transitional licenses. The Government of Curaçao has already started the process of registration of all eligible sub-licenses that will be converted as part of the move.
Apart from overseeing and licensing the Curaçao gambling industry, the new independent gambling regulatory body will be given the opportunity to enter agreements with other watchdogs. The former CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Mario Galea, who is also a consultant for the examination process of the Caribbean island country, commented that these types of agreements are not uncommon in Europe, as local regulatory bodies are willing to prevent companies from targeting certain jurisdictions.
As confirmed by Mr. Galea, the new gambling regulatory body will also be given the power to revoke licenses in case companies are not in line with the industry standards.
Several Licensing Fees to Apply, Along with Stricter AML Measures on Gambling Companies
As mentioned above, a number of fees are set to apply in the licensing process. According to the consultant of Curaçao gambling industry overhaul, the operating permit application fee will be around $4,000. Also, operators will have to pay a $250 monthly regulatory fee, as well as an annual license fee of $12,000.
Stricter measures are also set to apply. Under the new operating licenses, at least 3 employees, who are based on the island, will have to be put in key positions in the gambling company. Stricter anti-money laundering (AML) measures are also set to be implemented.
Javier Silvania, the finance minister of Curaçao, confirmed the planned overhaul, saying that the new bill will make sure that the monitoring process is controlled by the Caribbean island’s Government. Mr. Silvania shared that he was not concerned by the decision of some gambling companies to leave the country because Curaçao does not generate a lot of money from gambling operators. According to the country’s finance minister, a majority of the profit goes to master operating permits.
On the other hand, Mr. Silvania highlighted the fact that it is important for the Government to see companies that comply with the rules stay in the country. He further explained that it is important for the local Government to have operators that are established in the country and contribute to taxes, along with other businesses and industries, even if it is not much. Mr. Silvania said that having companies on paper without them contributing to the country’s coffers is not something that the authorities want.
The establishment of the new gambling regulatory body is expected to add a lot of legitimacy to the country’s gambling sector which has long been considered sketchy since it has been subject to lower standards than other much more regulated gambling markets around the world.