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Curaçao minister of finance Javier Silvania (pictured) has committed to amending the proposed overhaul of the island’s gambling law.

In a parliamentary technical briefing discussing the island’s new gambling law, the National Ordinance on Gambling (LOK), minister of finance Javier Silvania committed to amending the legislation in the near future.

The law had faced criticism from several quarters including MPs and the Curaçao Bar Association, as well as the Advisory Council, which scrutinises tabled legislation.

The Dutch government has also signalled its intention to scrutinise the legislation to check if it complies with the original 2020 agreement.

This saw Curaçao commit to several government reforms, including to clean up the offshore gambling industry, in return for Covid-19 relief.

In his remarks, Silvania also revealed the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) has issued eight total gambling licences, according to Casino Nieuws.

This includes the previously reported licence already issued to White Star BV. The licence awards have faced scrutiny from Steven Croes MP, who questioned how they were approved since the LOK has not yet been pushed through parliament.

In a letter sent this month, Silvania responded to this criticism, arguing the island’s original 1993 offshore gambling law provided the government with all the authority it needs to approve the updated licences.

Nevertheless, the minister urged MPs to approve the soon to be amended LOK, stating the law will work to combat money laundering and improve state finances.

Also speaking at the technical briefing was Cedric Pietersz, the current head of the GCB. Pietersz will assume charge of the new regulator, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) after the implementation of the LOK.

Pietersz outlined the CGA’s recruitment plans, that will see it more than double in size from the previous regulatory authority to 84 employees.

Malta tax treaty under microscope

Meanwhile in the Netherlands House of Representatives, MPs will meet on Thursday (29 Feb) for a plenary hearing to discuss the tax treaty between Malta and Curaçao.

The treaty between the two online gambling hubs is designed to prevent double taxation for businesses active in both jurisdictions.

Dating back to a 2015 agreement, it also aims to reduce instances of tax evasion by encouraging collaboration and data sharing between the tax authorities.

According to the Curaçao Chronicle, many had expected the treaty to be formally renewed without a debate.

To initiate such a debate in the chamber requires over 30 MPs to support the motion.

The ongoing passage of the LOK has put Curaçao’s gambling sector in the spotlight in recent months.

In the past, MPs have spoken out against the targeting of Dutch consumers by Curaçao-licensed offshore gaming businesses.

This proved to be one of the triggers behind the Dutch government’s application of pressure to the island that precipitated the island’s reform of its gambling sector.

The hearing will be held following the European Union’s decision to keep Curaçao on its grey list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

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