4H Materials

The Netherlands inspected the reform of gambling legislation in Curacao

The reform of the gambling legislation in Curacao continues. Many sub-license holders could feel the first changes when they submitted the necessary applications to the CGB portal before 30 April 2024 to continue working with this license. The timing of the adoption of the LOK and new licensing rules remain uncertain, earlier plans was to adopt the LOK in late 2023 – early 2024, but as of May the LOK has not yet been adopted.

However, recent news provide insights into the timing of regulatory changes in Curacao. It is bases on a working visit to Curacao by Alexandra van Huffelen (State Secretary for Kingdom Relations, one of eleven ministries in the Netherlands that oversees policy formulation, legislation preparation, coordination etc.). Two reports were published for Curacao, one general report for Curacao, Aruba, Sint Maarten and one for Curacao only.

In the general report it was determined that in the initial procedure for adopting the LOK, the authorities in Curacao did not give the Temporary Work Organisation in the Netherlands (part of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and supports the agreed reforms in Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten) the opportunity to review it. As a result of negotiations with the local authorities, they agreed that the authorities in Curacao would hand over the Memorandum containing the amendments to the LOK to the Temporary Work Organisation in the Netherlands.

The most interesting news in the report about only Curacao. The report specifies deadlines steps to reform the gambling legislation:

  • Adjust regulator's operations per new laws by June 1. Progress has been made with a new Managing Director appointed in mid-January 2024.
  • Finalize and pass the LOK draft by June 30, though recent statements suggest it is still under review.
  • Audit existing laws for anti-money laundering and minors’ protection by June 30, with no public updates yet.
  • Develop licensing procedures by July 1, with a one-year grace period until July 1, 2025, for any post-LOK adjustments. Challenges exist regarding meeting this deadline due to pending LOK adoption.

In conclusion, the inspection by the Dutch authorities of the Curacao gambling law reform process highlights that Curacao on the one hand is close to the final goal (managed to appoint a new managing director, set the requirements to apply for a transit license), however, on the other hand, the LOK as a central part of all reforms has not yet been adopted. This situation puts operators in a situation of uncertainty, there needs to be clear rules for obtaining a license, license fees, etc. Certainly, the Curacao license is still popular among operators. However, such gaps in the law reform process increase interest in other universal licenses. Of course, we will keep an eye on future changes and keep you informed.