4H Materials

The looming deadline, executed with a Curacao flair

Mark your calendars: March 31, 2024, is D-Day for the overhaul of Curacao's gambling regulations. All current sublicense holders need to hop onto the regulatory body count website and apply for a direct (temporary) one-year license, or risk being left out in the cold if the shiny new gambling legislation called LOK doesn't kick in soon enough.

The clock's not just ticking—it's practically sprinting. Time to roll up those sleeves.

Baffled? Allow us to demystify.

So, what's the big deal with March 31, 2024?

Curacao's in the thick of birthing its LOK for years, but until these new rules get the parliamentary thumbs-up and a green light from the executive branch, it's business as usual under the old guard.

Here's an obvious kicker: the exact premiere date of the LOK is anybody's guess, and the old regime's expiration date is looming.

At the close of 2023, the Curacao Ministry of Finance released a statement outlining key dates and actions required by March 31, 2024, as part of the ongoing gambling law reform. The directive is for current sublicense holders to register on the website of the transitional regulator, GCB. This registration is crucial, as it then allows these entities the option to apply for a temporary license. Registration is mandatory, but applying for the temporary license is left to the discretion of the sublicense holders.

The significance of these steps became clearer after the GCB provided a comprehensive explanation in mid-March (how generous of them not to publish it on March 30). Although registration was straightforward, the application process for a temporary license has raised some questions. This temporary license acts as a safeguard against the possible lapse of existing sublicenses before LOK is enacted.

For example, let's say an operator secured a sublicense in February 2024, valid for six months. This would allow legal operation until August 2024. If the LOK were to be introduced in October 2024 —a speculative date — an operator could find themselves in one of two situations:

· If they hadn't applied for the temporary license by March 31, they would be unable to operate from August until they could secure a license under the new LOK framework, likely not before early 2025;

· If they had applied for the temporary license by March 31, they could continue operating seamlessly through the transition to the LOK regime.

Choosing to forego the temporary license application, hoping for an early enactment of the LOK, carries significant risk. Opting out of the temporary license game, banking on the LOK to save the day before your sublicense expires? That's a gamble. And if the LOK debut falls flat?

Well, it's not the end of the world; you could always start afresh with a new company and dive into the temporary license pool with a new brand and digital storefront. Sure, it might hit your wallet harder and jumble your operations.

Applying now looks like the smart move.

How to apply?

The license application is relatively simple. The existing operators shall submit three separate forms and accompany them with a supporting documents:

· Online Gaming Application Form – includes general information about the operator (gambling verticals, website policies, game rules, software providers, etc.).

· Personal History Disclosure Form – includes information about the Director/UBO or other persons (personal information, information about sources of wealth, list of supporting documents, etc.);

· Corporate and Business Information Form – includes general information about the operator's company (company name, registration number, date of incorporation, etc.).

A word to the wise: some documents may be submitted at a later stage (e.g. police file certificates), but one should prove its efforts to get such documents before application. Blank forms won't cut it.

Who can kick back and relax?

Not many, but there are a few:

· B2B providers – they're still out of Curacao's regulatory reach, with licensing on the horizon later this year post-LOK enactment;

· New businesses – they will be able to apply for a transitory license until the LOK is introduced

· Risk-tolerant sublicense holders – guys, we’re just waiting and hoping that the LOK will be passed tomorrow, or a day after. Total chill mode!

Any existing businesses, time to hurry, we’ve got another minute to midnight!
UPD: GCB moved the deadline. The new one is 30 April 2024.