A look at recent changes in the Curacao iGaming licensing structure

In this article, iGaming industry consultant Ron Mendelson, Fast Offshore, explores the recent changes in the Curacao online gaming licensing structure.

Curacao, a key player in the iGaming industry, has unveiled the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) and a new pricing structure in a bold stride toward regulatory reform. This marks a significant departure from its traditional Master License and Sub-License model, signaling the island’s commitment to fortifying its regulatory framework, enhancing compliance, and fostering a robust iGaming ecosystem.

The Evolution of Curacao’s iGaming Landscape

Curacao, renowned for its iGaming jurisdiction, has long been a favored destination for operators seeking licensing flexibility. However, the Master License and Sub-License structure faced scrutiny due to perceived shortcomings in centralized control and regulatory oversight. The island’s response to this challenge comes from the LOK, a legislative leap that promises transformative progress.

LOK Law: A Leap Towards Transformation

The submission of the LOK to the Curacao Parliament, as confirmed by Minister of Finance Javier Silvania, signifies more than a mere procedural step; it marks a leap towards transformative progress. Minister Silvania emphasizes that these proposed regulations are the fruit of extensive consultations and collaborations with the online gambling industry. The envisioned framework, according to him, is not only comprehensive but also pragmatic, reflecting the collective effort to modernize and fortify Curacao’s iGaming regulations. Minister Silvania stated: ” We are very happy to reach this final stage. The submission of the LOK to Parliament is not just a procedural step, but a leap towards transformative progress.”

Industry Collaboration and Regulatory Stability

Acknowledging the rising pressure to modernize regulations and align with contemporary compliance and anti-money laundering standards, Curacao’s proactive approach involved collaborative efforts with the iGaming industry. Minister Silvania’s affirmation of a well-rounded and workable framework underscores a commitment to regulatory stability. The industry, which has grappled with prolonged uncertainty, now anticipates a return to stability, potentially diverting attention back from rival jurisdictions.

The Unveiled Pricing Structure: A Turning Point for Operators

The unveiling of the new pricing structure is pivotal for operators and software providers with vested interests in Curacao. The comprehensive fee schedule provides clarity, allowing businesses to plan ahead and make informed decisions. This departure from the previous National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (NOOGH) legislation necessitates operators to consider whether they fall under the Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) category.

Transition from NOOGH to LOK: Key Changes and Considerations

Under the NOOGH rules, operators were not obliged to specify whether they operated as B2B or B2C entities. However, the paradigm shift to LOK introduces a critical change, requiring operators to clearly delineate their category. For instance, a B2C license is imperative for companies directly interacting with players and managing player data or funds. Meanwhile, a B2B license becomes mandatory only if a company establishes itself physically in Curacao.

Fee Structure Comparisons: NOOGH vs. LOK

The fee structure under NOOGH, characterized by application fees, annual fees, GPT tax/revenue share, monthly fees, and domain charges, is now superseded by the more intricate LOK fee schedule. The clarity brought by the LOK framework is accompanied by an adjustment in costs, prompting operators to carefully assess the financial implications. While NOOGH offered a relatively straightforward fee model, LOK introduces nuanced fees for different roles and introduces due diligence fees.

B2C Licensing Costs under LOK

For B2C businesses, the proposed LOK fees include an application fee, annual fee, monthly fee, and domain charges. The due diligence fees, varying based on the role, add an extra layer of cost consideration. The government’s guidance highlights that companies transitioning from NOOGH to LOK may benefit from certain exemptions, providing a degree of financial relief during the transition.

B2B Licensing Costs under LOK

Similarly, B2B licensing under LOK encompasses application fees, annual fees, and due diligence fees. Notably, monthly fees are exempted for B2B licenses. This revised fee structure aims to balance regulatory requirements and the economic viability of businesses operating within Curacao.

Remaining Uncertainties and Industry Outlook

While the unveiling of the new pricing structure brings a degree of clarity, certain aspects remain subject to parliamentary approval. This lingering uncertainty, coupled with the observed increase in fees compared to NOOGH, prompts operators to scrutinize the additional costs associated with enhanced compliance in the reformed regime. The iGaming industry now eagerly awaits further insights and official approvals, balancing the need for regulatory robustness with the economic sustainability of their operations.

For iGaming operators seeking expert guidance on licensing, particularly in Curacao or other jurisdictions, consulting Fast Offshore is paramount. With a wealth of experience and a proven track record, Fast Offshore offers tailored advice, ensuring operators navigate complex regulatory landscapes seamlessly. Specializing in Curacao licenses and various global jurisdictions, their team provides invaluable insights, helping operators make informed decisions, streamline licensing processes, and enhance compliance. Fast Offshore’s comprehensive services, industry knowledge, and commitment to client success position them as a trusted partner for iGaming ventures, ensuring a smooth and efficient journey in the dynamic world of online gaming.