By Ron Mendelson, Fast Offshore

Curaçao's iGaming landscape: Past, future, present

Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based International Business & Corporate Services consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With over 24 years of real-world experience in iGaming Licensing and Payments, Regulatory Compliance, Tax-Efficient Corporate Structuring, Incubator and other Hedge Fund Licenses, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency related services, he advises a number of international clients on their business needs in the Americas, Europe, and beyond.

Reading time 2:42 min

In this new analysis, iGaming industry consultant Ron Mendelson, Fast Offshore, discusses the present and future of the Curaçao online gambling license amid regulatory changes in the jurisdiction.

Curaçao, a picturesque island in the Caribbean, has emerged as a significant player in the global iGaming industry. With its favorable regulatory environment and strategic location, Curaçao has attracted numerous online gambling operators. However, recent regulatory changes have prompted discussions about the island's evolution in iGaming.

The Historical Context of Curaçao's iGaming Industry

Curaçao's journey in the iGaming sector can be traced back to 1996 when the Netherlands Antilles Online Gambling Ordinance (NOOGH) was established. This ordinance allowed the Ministry of Justice to grant Master Licenses, enabling operators to sublicense their services to online gaming platforms. This system provided a lucrative opportunity for operators seeking to capitalise on the growing online gambling market.

Reasons Behind Regulatory Changes

Despite its initial success, Curaçao's iGaming regulatory regime faced criticism for its lack of transparency and oversight. Concerns about potential risks such as money laundering and fraud prompted calls for regulatory reform. The decision to revamp the regulatory framework was driven by the need to align with international standards and address industry concerns regarding integrity and accountability.

Understanding the Regulatory Changes

The overhaul of Curaçao's gaming regime led to phasing out the sublicense system and establishing the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB). Under the new framework, the GCB assumes centralised control over the licensing process, implementing enhanced due diligence checks and emphasising responsible gaming measures. These changes aim to foster transparency, integrity, and accountability within the industry, positioning Curaçao as a reputable jurisdiction for online gambling operators.

The Current Situation and the Latest Licenses

The Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) has issued its inaugural licenses under the jurisdiction's new regulatory framework, marking a significant milestone in the island's gambling sector. Among the recipients of these licenses are White Star, a division of Rhino Entertainment Group, securing a new license for its CasinoDays platform, along with Games and More, Geeka Corporation, and Small House, which have been granted Digital Seals.

These licenses were issued a mere 12 weeks after Curaçao initiated the licensing process for the new regime. The registration portal, operational since September, facilitated the processing of new applications under existing legislation with the GCB, including the registration of sub-licensees intending to continue operations post the enactment of the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK).

Cedric Pietersz, the newly appointed managing director of GCB, emphasised the transformative nature of 2024 for Curaçao's gambling sector, citing the overwhelming volume of submissions received within a short timeframe. Pietersz hailed White Star's licensure as a pivotal moment in Curaçao's journey towards becoming a top-tier gambling jurisdiction, with numerous licenses still in the pipeline.

However, despite the positive developments, confusion persists in Curaçao regarding the regulatory changes. While challenges and confusion may arise during the transition, stakeholders can look forward to a more transparent and accountable regulatory framework, supporting the growth and legitimacy of the online gaming sector in Curaçao.

Pros and Cons of Curaçao as a Jurisdiction

Curaçao offers several advantages as a jurisdiction for online gambling operators. It boasts a favourable tax regime, streamlined licensing processes, and a well-established infrastructure for hosting online gaming platforms. Additionally, Curaçao's strategic location in the Caribbean provides access to a global market of players. However, challenges such as regulatory scrutiny, compliance requirements, and reputational risks must be carefully considered by operators seeking to establish a presence in Curaçao.

Partnering with Fast Offshore for iGaming Corporate Services

For operators navigating the complex landscape of iGaming regulation, partnering with a trusted corporate services provider like Fast Offshore can offer invaluable support and expertise. Fast Offshore specialises in providing comprehensive solutions for iGaming operators, including corporate structuring, licensing assistance, compliance support, and banking solutions. With three decades of experience in the industry and a proven track record of success, Fast Offshore is well-equipped to help operators navigate regulatory challenges and achieve their business objectives in Curaçao and beyond. 

Contact us today to learn more about licensing in Curacao, our custom-made or off-the-shelf packages, or other jurisdictions like Anjouan or Kahnawake.

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