How Will the Changes to the Curacao License affect Online Casinos targeting India

Curacau Netherlands Licence Island

Due to the 2020 global pandemic and its direct economic implications imposed by extensive lockdowns, the tiny Dutch colonial island in the Caribbean has found itself facing financial troubles. In order to re-establish it’s stability, a pact has been established with the Netherlands that enforces the introduction of changes to the Curacao license that will affect online gambling worldwide, including India.

There are three major demands from the overseas sister country that will make the Curacao license emulate what is expected from a trustworthy jurisdictions in the EU:

Curacao Welcome Sign

1. Increased pricing for master licenses
2. Prevention of player targeting
3. Increased diligence and inspection

This will make the license somewhat harder to obtain, especially for new operators in developing nations that have been popping out recently. Obtaining a license nowadays is a relatively trivial task which can be accomplished within a few weeks, unlike other jurisdictions such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) or United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), a process which involves extensive due diligence by the operator and can last for months even over a year in some cases. Of course, employing a more stringent licensing process has its upsides, which will inevitably make the license itself more valuable.

New Independent Regulatory Body

The first demand from the Netherlands inside the package is the formation of a new and proactive regulatory body that will not only issue the new licenses but also supervise that operators are following the rules stated under them. Such a change will provide ideal alignment with the Netherlands intended plans related to launching a domestic online gambling market by September 2021. This has, to some extent,  been on the Dutch wish list for years and will now enforce tighter gambling restrictions on Curacao based operators, which are a predominant feature on blacklisted gambling domains ranging from Australia, Indian and to the likes Switzerland and Poland.

The next obligation is for Curacao to ensure that all gambling licensees pay their required taxes and fees. Curacao recently doubled its annual master license fees to ANG240k (US$134k) but sub-licensees currently contribute little or nothing to government monetary supplies.

Curacao has suggested imposing a monthly fee of ANG7,500 ($4,200) on sub-licensees which, when combined with the higher master license fees and a 2% corporate profit tax, could raise ANG100m ($56m) per year through more rigorous collection, although the proof will be in the pudding.

Dutch MP Ronald Van Raak, a prominent gambling critic, has previously claimed that unsupervised online gambling threatens Curacao’s “political stability.” In 2018, Curacao promised greater oversight of its gambling operators due to the Minister of Finance claiming that the actions of some licensees “seriously detracts” from Curacao’s “international image.” However, little tangible changes followed this public vow, apparently due to the government’s lack of financial incentives.

Such a change will definitely act as a deterrent for the licenses operators with a smaller cash flow and is a factor that will change the Curacao based perception to the general public.

Stricter Due Diligence
Operators that want a Curacao license will now need to prove that they are financially capable of running an honest gambling business and paying out their jackpots and major prizes without delays.

Also, they will need to follow the EU standards that regulate privacy information by their customers. But, as most good operators were already doing this to gain access to European markets, such a change shouldn’t create a major impact.

Stop Player Targeting
Player targeting, where large spenders are pushed to spend even more is forbidden under EU gambling regulation. Now, all holders of the Curacao license will need to have proactive tools that will prevent people from overspending.

Additionally, any changes to the player’s IP address and behaviour will trigger an investigation to prevent any chance of data or identity theft.

Increase Oversight
Unlike before, the upcoming Curaçao licensing regime will assume a more ‘hands-on’ approach to the license holders. Regular testing, inspections, and information requests will be made by the institution to ensure that everyone is following the new rules.

Whats in it for India?
Many have considered Curacao a ‘second-grade’ license jurisdiction compared to the one provided by the Malta Gaming Authority and other EU based jurisdictions. But, with these plans now in place, it is very probable that the regulations will make the Curacao license more valuable and more inline to its European counterparts. This will inevitably make the operators more trustworthy and will reassure the casino players that they are protected, both from a financial and responsible gaming perspective when gambling online.

We are really excited about the new Curacao Licensing scheme and expect that once in place, it will have a very positive impact on operators targeting the Indian market. This will definitely impose a re-shuffling of our top 10 online casino rankings and we will be ready to share our new and updated reviews with you as the time comes.