A bill that will regulate gambling operations in Curaçao is currently before the country’s parliament for approval.

The Ministry of Finance has also issued a notice to license holders under existing law (NOOGH) on the milestones for a seamless transition to the new legal framework.

The upcoming National Gambling Regulation (LOK) will overhaul the regulation of gambling in the region.

The new regulation will change aspects of the current law. The most important changes include adjustments to license types and fees for operators.

What are the milestones?

Registration of sublicenses on the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) portal and subsequent application for a direct license in accordance with current legislation – if requested by the sublicensee – will no longer be possible after March 31, 2024.

The portal opened on September 1st and the application process officially started. Account registrations for applicants and sublicensees can be submitted beginning November 1st. The portal has two functions – processing new applications in accordance with current legislation and registering licensees.

Any sublicensee who has not been registered along with their domains listed on the GCB portal will not be allowed to operate after March 31st.

The transition to the new framework under a provisional license upon entry into force of the LOC – known as “grandfathering” – will only apply to direct license holders under the NOOGH from March 31. Ongoing applications will continue without interruption.

Any operator that wishes to continue operating in Curaçao but has not applied for a direct license with the GCB before March 31 will be able to continue operating only under its sublicense until the master license expires or the LOC comes into effect – whichever Date is earlier.

The sublicensees must then apply for a new license in accordance with the LOK.

In addition, the GCB has renewed all gambling licenses in Curaçao. The first of these extensions ends in August 2024 and the last in January 2025.

Starting January 1, 2024, license holders will be allowed to display a digital seal on their website. This digital seal is issued by the GCB. Registered applicants who have submitted an application could also receive permission to display the digital seal on their website. The GCB will issue a policy on digital seals in the future.

How did case law get to this point?

The new gambling reform process in Curaçao was first announced in July 2022. In January this year, the Dutch government said that Curaçao was working on a “new timetable” for reform.

At this year’s iGB L!VE, Sixiènne Jansen, legal advisor to the Curaçao Ministry of Finance, explained what the jurisdiction’s new regulatory schedule will look like starting September 1st.

From then on it only went uphill. Javier Silvania, Curaçao’s finance minister, spoke in favor of the LOC in September. He said it would serve as a “safety net” to prevent a gray listing by the Financial Action Task Force.