Curacao will tighten gambling licensing, which could scare away casino owners

The governments of Curacao agreed with the requirements of the Dutch authorities to introduce new restrictions and rules for the issuance of licenses for online casinos and betting companies.

The island nation has reportedly received financial support from the Netherlands this year to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. After receiving the second tranche of financial support in May 2020, the Dutch government announced to the Curacao authorities that such support would no longer be provided without any obligation to license the gambling business. The introduction of certain restrictions on the issuance of online gambling licenses and other changes in the way Curacao handles issues related to its gambling industry were outlined in the so-called Landspakket package agreed between the governments of Curacao and the Netherlands.

Several thousand online casinos and betting sites currently operate with licenses issued in Curacao. However, they often target clients from territories in which they are not allowed to work, including the Netherlands. This should change as part of the reforms included in the recent package. Curacao will need to form a new independent regulatory body tasked with overseeing the national gambling industry and issuing licenses to interested iGaming operators. Regulatory authority to be established and ready by March 1, 2021. The regulator is expected to revoke licenses from operators that do not comply with local rules and regulations.

Operators licensed in Curacao may be forced to start paying license fees, corporate taxes, and gambling taxes on the income they received from offering online gambling services. In addition, locally licensed operators will no longer be allowed to accept players from other territories, with the exception of a few countries that accept licenses from Curacao. According to the package, Curacao and its future regulator must develop a plan by September 1, 2021 to prevent license holders from targeting customers from prohibited areas and to ensure that their operations comply with the rules.

This means that operators with a Curacao license should no longer target players from the Netherlands. This country itself intends to reorganize its online gambling market by September 1, 2021 in an attempt to introduce a licensing system that will allow only licensed operators to serve local players and will punish everyone who violates local rules and norms.

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