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Curaçao’s Ministry of Finance has amended its draft remote gambling bill following criticism from various island stakeholders.

The National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) has been amended to remove a requirement for the gambling regulator to accredit gaming lawyers.

Previously, the law would have required all gambling industry lawyers to be accredited by the regulator before working with licensees.

Following the latest change, however, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) will instead issue three-year certificates to gaming attorneys seeking accreditation, but these will not be a requirement for them to work with licence holders.

Stakeholder criticism

First reported by Casino Nieuws, the update follows the Curaçao Bar Association’s January criticism of the law’s treatment of legal representatives as a “violation of the democratic constitutional state”.

In a statement published on Minister of Finance Javier Silvania’s (pictured) Facebook page, the Council of Ministers said the amendments have considered various concerns raised by interested parties.

The Council of Ministers said: “These developments testify to the close coordination between various stakeholders and emphasise the ongoing aspiration for improvement and consensus within the framework of the LOK.”

Stakeholders includes the island’s parliament and Advisory Council (RvA), which scrutinises legislation, as well as the Dutch government’s Temporary Work Organisation (TWO).

The TWO is the body charged with implementing the 2020 agreement between Curaçao and the Netherlands which included a commitment to reform the island’s offshore gambling sector.

Following criticism earlier in the year from stakeholders, Silvania committed to amending the law.

Amendments aim to bolster CGA independence

Also included in the amendments are changes designed to better guarantee the independence of the CGA.

These include measures aimed at ensuring the CGA’s board of directors is independent and able to operate transparently.

In line with criticism levelled by the RvA, the CGA will directly oversee the fees involved in applying for a gaming licence.

That change came about following previous concerns that the LOK was not in compliance with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recommendations for the island.

Reform background

The news is the latest twist in Curaçao’s ongoing attempt to reform its offshore gaming sector.

The LOK aims to increase standards under the supervision of a beefed-up regulator.

Under the current National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (LBH) framework, licences are issued indirectly to sublicensees through master licence holders.

This means sublicensees in practice are not directly overseen by the Curaçao Gaming Control Board, the current gaming regulator.

The Dutch State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen this month criticised Curaçao’s introduction of the law.

She said it was incorrect procedure to submit the draft LOK to the parliament before the TWO was able to review it. 

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