Curacao Announces iGaming Overhaul

By Ben Hamill - December 18 2020

Curacao Announces iGaming Overhaul

So desperate has the state of Dutch-controlled Caribbean island Curacao’s economy reportedly become, that the region has stated its intention of overhauling its entire online gambling system and regulatory approach to comply with the conditions of a financial rescue lifeline offered to it by Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. A vast number of online casinos are licensed by the Curacao, so any changes would have a ripple effect across the globe.

According to a news report published this week by a local domain, Curacao is home to a population of roughly 159,000 people. Also, that it’s a population that has been suffering a severe economic crisis caused by a currently non-existing tourism industry resulting from travel restrictions and other challenges caused by the global health crisis.

In an attempt to mitigate the economic damage created by the temporary demise of international tourism, the region has reportedly approached the Dutch capital for financial aid – to which local government responded by laying down a number of conditions to be complied with in return for the extension of an economic lifeline.

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Noteworthy Conditions

If Curacao is to be successful at securing much-needed aid from the Netherlands, the Curacao Gaming Control Board will first have to implement a number of changes to existing iGaming legislation – including the signing into force of much stricter anti-money laundering regulations than those presently active. The funding of terrorism from money laundered via online as well as land-based casinos appears to be a major concern for Dutch policymakers.

A second condition of aid is the implementation of a more effective model for the regular collecting of license fees and taxes from online casino operators. It would appear as if Dutch lawmakers are of the opinion that Curacao’s financial demise is at least in part the result of the way in which the local gaming control board has been going about managing and taxing online and retail casino operators.

Harmful Or Helpful?

The notion of a complete iGaming overhaul does pose several questions regarding the likelihood of ongoing online gambling success in the region. Curacao has for the longest time been considered a market of “convenience” and as such, a haven for online casino operators and brands. So much so, that Curacao has in recent years become known for a region not as focused on the upholding of consumer protection standards as what it has been on issuing licenses in return for a fee and a profit.

The island is currently considered one of the very few remaining territories offering low-cost iGaming licenses practically devoid of strict regulations and oversight.