Curacao Gaming License Costs and Requirements
Curacao is a small island in the Caribbean that happens to be one of the best places to incorporate and license an e-gaming company. One of the advantages of Curacao e-gaming licenses stems from the fact that the island was once part of the Dutch Antilles and they maintain unique statues as an autonomous Dutch territory – you get the benefits of the EU without the high taxes of Europe. Regulation of land-based gaming and e-gaming fall under the Curacao Gaming Commission and within that body is the Curacao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA), a section responsible for issuing e-gaming licenses. Curacao offers e-gaming licenses to companies worldwide and the small island is considered one of the best jurisdictions for e-gaming licenses.
E-Gaming Regulation in Curacao
In Curacao all gaming, both online and on-land is overseen by the Curacao Gaming Commission. The section of the commission responsible for e-gaming is the CIGA (Curacao Internet Gaming Association) which abides by the regulations and guidelines of the Interactive Gaming Council. CIGA is responsible for issuing gaming licenses to operators; service providers and software professionals in the e-gaming industry. CIGA has issued e-gaming licenses to about 30 e-gaming operators and they insure that e-gaming companies and service providers are regulated and maintain a high standard. The Curacao Gaming Commission (also called the Curacao Control Board), is a highly respected jurisdiction in the e-gaming industry.
How to Apply for a Curacao e-Gaming License
In order to apply for a Curacao gaming license from the Curacao Gaming Commission you will need to disclose your banking history and criminal history. You will need to comply with due diligence; show proof of your capital funds; present a business plan and outline the tools your company will use to fight underage gambling, illegal e-gaming and money-laundering. In addition, you will need to pay the license application fee and the cost of the license itself. Licenses must be renewed each year at a fee. Once the applying company has presented all the necessary documentation and paper work the Curacao Department of Justice will thoroughly examine your application and investigate your company. The investigation can last up to 6 weeks after which the applicant will either receive a provisional license (subject to specific conditions) or the application will be rejected. If your application is accepted, you will need to pay a guarantee deposit.
Curacao e-Gaming License Application Requirements
- Compliance with due diligence.
- KYC compliance.
- Identification of all Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBO).
- References for the UBO.
- Detailed description of your proposed online gaming business and the games that will be offered.
Forming a Company in Curacao
In Curacao companies are incorporated through the Commercial Register of the Curacao Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Among the requirements for formation of a Curacao company are Articles of Association; a document describing the rules and procedures for operating the company. In Curacao these can be written in any language. Unless otherwise set in the Articles of Association there is no required minimum share capital. You need a minimum of one shareholder to form a Curacao NV (Naamloze Vennootschap) company and this shareholder can be of any nationality. You only need one director who can also be the sole shareholder. You can have a one-tiered or two-tiered Board of Directors. All companies formed in Curacao must have a registered agent and local office in the country which can also act as the company’s physical address. All records of the shareholders remain with the registered agent and are confidential. Company’s formed in Curacao cannot contain the words – bank, insurance, Trustee Company, Trust Company etc. in the company name.
Advantages of a Curacao e-Gaming License:
- Curacao has favorable tax laws (2-3% corporate tax rates).
- Curacao licensing procedure is quick and low-cost.
- Curacao gaming laws are relatively straightforward.
- “E-Zone” for internet businesses.
- No minimum share capital necessary.
- A company can have a single shareholder and a single director. The director can also be the sole shareholder.
- Curacao only issues one e-gaming license which covers all forms of online gaming
- License application in Curacao is easier than in other jurisdictions where there are higher fees, multiple licenses and lengthy application processes.
- All shareholders can be foreigners.
- The Curacao regulator will issue you with a license label which you can display on your website.
Disadvantages of a Curacao e-Gaming License:
- As Curacao e-gaming licenses are relatively easy to obtain operators consider Curacao licenses to be less prestigious and less discerning than those granted by other jurisdictions.
- Most licenses issued today are sub-licenses which means the sub-license holders are subject to regulation and auditing by the Master License holder rather than the gaming commission.
- Some international markets in the EU, North America and other places including Curacao itself do not allow Curacao e-gaming license holders to access players in their jurisdictions.
- All e-gaming companies including those with a Curacao license usually find it difficult to open a gaming bank account and arrange payment options
Curacao e-Gaming Licenses FAQ
What Types of e-Gaming Licenses Are Offered in Curacao?
Master License – The Curacao Gaming Commission can issue a master license to companies which then have the right to issue sub-licenses to third parties. The sub-license holders are then under the auspices of the master license holder. It is the sole discretion of the Minister of Justice whether to award a master license to a company.
Sub-License – A sub-license holder has the same rights as a master license holder except that sub-license holders cannot issue additional sub-licenses. Master license holders and sub-license holders are authorized to run online gaming businesses.
What is the Cost of a Curacao e-Gaming License?
Although the cost of a gaming license can vary there are some general guidelines. There are initial costs of about 20,000-25,000Euro which is reasonable compared to the initial price of an e-gaming license in other jurisdictions. Taxation is another expense to consider; in Curacao income tax is 2%. In other jurisdictions the e-gaming license may be cheaper but taxes more expensive. Other expenses to consider when incorporating an e-gaming business in Curacao include:
- Registration costs
- License application fee
- Cost of the license
- Local hosting and server space
- Company management for the first year
- Services involved in the application process – filing, registration of documents etc. (This can take 2-3 weeks from submission of application)
What Kind of e-Gaming Companies Use Curacao Licenses?
Many different types of e-gaming companies operate under a Curacao e-gaming license. Among them are many online casinos, bingo sites, sports betting sites, lottery sites and poker sites. Curacao issues e-gaming licenses that cover all forms of gaming so you don’t need to get a separate e-gaming license for each type of e-gaming.