Curaçao became an autonomous, constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands upon dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010. Curaçao iGaming jurisdiction, on the other hand, is much older. Established in 1996, it is one of the longest-running regulated iGaming markets.
Building on the country’s open economy and Economic Zones providing 2% corporate income tax on net profits, this jurisdiction is a popular choice for online operators.
Governed by the Curaçao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA), the jurisdiction does not get better with the age. In fact, nowadays it is one of the few with a questionable reputation in the iGaming community.
4 Different Master License Holders
- Cyberluck Curacao N.V. (Curacao Egaming) #1668/JAZ
- Gaming Curacao (GC) #365/JAZ - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Curacao Interactive Licensing N.V. (CIL) #5536/JAZ
- Antillephone NV 8048/JAZ
Legal Ecosystem and Licensing
All forms of gambling are legal in Curaçao with a number of different laws regulating the market. While land-based casino industry is run by Curaçao Gaming Control Board (CGCB), CIGA is leading online licensing authority. Both organizations operate under the Curaçao Minister of Justice.
The CIGA’s process of licensing is based on tolerant procedures lacking significant quality control, focused on quantity instead of quality.
As is the case with other jurisdictions in the Caribbean region, the aspiring online operators need to be established as a local entity certified by the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCC). Upon six-week investigation process by the Curaçao Ministry of Justice, the applicants need to provide information about:
- Beneficial owners ID (passports info);
- Owners’ contractual obligations with their bank references;
- Proof that minors shall be denied access to an online casino;
- Evidence of sufficient information about preventing of gambling addiction;
- Customer and transaction database location details;
- Primary market targeted by its operations;
- Software that will be used for online casino operations;
- Third-party certification of RNG;
- Three-year financial feasibility study.
Once cleared, operators qualify for one of two types of iGaming licenses granting the same rights — the master license and sub-license. Both of them cover gaming operations and grant the same rights. The major distinction is in the empowerment — the operator with a master license can issue sub-licenses to third-parties.
The master license is issued for a term of five years with automatic renewal. The sub-license is indefinitely valid depending on master license validity.
This is highly debatable since it offers less controllable leeway into online gambling practices. To further compound the issue, the license is valid for all activities related to gambling, such as:
- Online casinos;
- Entertainment clubs;
- Poker rooms;
- Betting houses;
- Other games of skill and chance.
Like in the case of Costa Rica, the operators’ hardware and equipment must be located on the island of Curaçao. On the other hand, the operator cannot receive funds for gambling-related cash locally but instead has to use an offshore banking account in another country.
Total costs for attaining the online gambling license are approximately $34,000 while the whole process takes 2-6 weeks to conclude.
To top it all off, the license itself is not the gambling license but permission for business operations.
In a way, when it comes to establishing an online gambling entity in this jurisdiction, the only obstacle is the initial — non-competing — process. While the Minister of Justice retains the discretionary right to revoke a master license as it sees it fit, no further control of business practices is in place, nor are expert reviews of operations.
The End Result
The licensing process is relatively uncomplicated and quick, with several local companies providing turn-key services. The lack of rigid vetting system that produces qualified operators is, actually, being marketed as the business advantage and opportunity.
This, in turn, has led Curaçao jurisdiction into an accessible arena that offers debatable reputation to its operators and low value for players. Further compounding this situation is CIGA’s almost non-existent oversight of operators.
This, in turn, created an environment that lacks institutional players’ protection on numerous levels. For instance:
There isn’t any significant RGN third-party control nor certification of computer code (short of initial one conveyed during the licensing process);
- There are no established typical timelines for getting paid;
- Consequently, the majority of disputes are RNG and payments related and CIGA doesn’t participate as a mediator in those cases;
- Operators do not monitor players’ gambling habits;
- No significant players’ protection from excessive gambling;
- Lack of proactive procedures that are to address problem gamblers;
- No advertising standards for moderate and realistic messaging on the possibility of a win.
All of this has resulted in many European and North America’s countries prohibiting Curaçao licensed online casinos from accessing its players. The banks became increasingly hesitant to open operators’ accounts. In the case of EU, for example, the operator needs a processor in order to services the payments.
The bottom line of the iGaming jurisdiction on this beautiful island and nation is simple…
…it is constituted with the benefits for operators in mind that come at the expense of the players.
However, for the foreseeable future, until the situation significantly changes for better, the players are advised to be very careful when playing in online casinos in Curaçao jurisdiction.
To be fair to the online operators with Curaçao license that actually employ practices expected from reputable online casinos — for they do exist although in minority — we strongly suggest that you check our Rogue and Warning Report List in order to be 100% positive that operator has their games certified as being fair by independent evaluators.