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What will Curaçao’s transition period look like?

| By iGB Editorial Team
As Curaçao moves towards implementing the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK), questions have swirled around what this transition process will look like for current licence holders in the region.
Curaçao licence process, Gaming Control Board, new applications

The new licensing process kicked off on 1 September, with the Gaming Control Board (GCB) officially opening the licence application portal.

The portal has two key functions. The first is processing new applications under the current legislation with the GCB. The second is the registration of all sublicensees that wish to continue operating uninterrupted when the LOK is enacted and the new Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) is established.

Same law, new applications

Only Curaçao-registered companies can be registered under the law. This means that they must meet two conditions. Firstly, they must have a registered Curaçao address and also there is an obligation to have at least one named director in the country.

The government process will process all new applicants under existing legislation, in advance of it enacting LOK. The minister of finance and his team has confirmed to iGB that, at this point, there is no requirement for physical offices or local employees.

Aside from submitting the relevant documentation, this is the only significant action that needs to be taken by sublicensees or new operators that are applying for a licence on the portal.

Under the current regime, master licensees register in Curaçao. But many operators come from other countries, such as Cyprus.

For those entities that are already registered in Curaçao, this requirement is unlikely to pose a problem. 

Currently, the portal hosts information on how to apply for a licence, as well as official guidance on the process. Operators can upload their completed applications from 15 November.

Application process

The application process consists of three forms – an application form, a corporate disclosure and a personal disclosure. All forms are currently available to download from the portal.

A personal disclosure must be filled out for Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) that hold over 10% capital. This also applies to top-level employees such as CEOs.

The government will process correctly filled out applications, with the appropriate supporting documents, within two months of the submission date. Successful applicants will receive a provisional licence and be given six months to submit requested audited policies and procedures.

Once the LOK comes into effect, the government will transfer existing applications from operators over to the new regime format. This applies to applications at any stage.

Sublicensees under the LOK

Operators that want to continue operating as a master licensee or sublicensee under the LOK must register on the portal before the government enact LOK. At that point, the CGA will become the regulator.

Day-to-day operations under all active master licences can continue as normal. However, it is imperative that the new regulator has a record of all current licence holders in the country.

At iGB L!VE in July, Sixiènne Jansen, legal advisor to Curaçao’s ministry of finance announced that the regulator would be extending all master licences for an additional year.

“One of the primary elements of the transition into the new regime is to facilitate uninterrupted continuity of all operations of sub-licence holders,” she said at the time.

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