• Home
  • News
  • Regulation
  • ​​Curaçao finance minister defends issuing first licence before passing LOK
igamingnext photo
Curaçao’s Minister of Finance has defended the government’s decision to issue a direct licence before the passage of its new gambling law.

This month, Curaçao MP Steven Croes voiced concerns over the government approving the first direct licence to a gambling operator under the new regime.

Croes was concerned as the new licence, which was issued to Rhino Entertainment Group entity White Star BV, was authorised prior to the passage of the island’s new gambling law.

The controversial National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) is currently making its way through Curaçao’s parliament.

According to the government, the bill is intended to clean up the online gaming sector through direct licences, improved standards, and a revamped regulator.

However, the proposed law has faced criticism from the Curaçao Bar Association, MPs, and the Advisory Council which scrutinises legislation. As such, the bill is currently being reworked.

“The recently expressed objections of members of parliament are currently being investigated and the LOK will be adjusted where necessary,” said Minister of Finance Javier Silvania.

The Dutch government is also investigating whether the LOK complies with an original 2020 deal to clean up the gambling industry in return for Covid-19 relief funds.

Minister cites 1993 law

Silvania defended the ministry’s decision to grant the first licence before the passage of the LOK.

He argued the licence was authorised under the 1993 Offshore Gambling Ordinance (LBH), which he said “remains fully applicable as long as it is not repealed by the national ordinance”.

Historically, Curaçao licences have been issued to only six master licence holders, which then franchise sub-licences to prospective operators.

These sub-licences, which were not provided for in the original law, lack many of the regulatory requirements of the master licences. It is this system which has faced widespread criticism for its lack of oversight.

However, the 1993 law itself is a brief document. Consisting of around three pages, the lack of detail in theory allowed a broad scope for the government to set out the particulars of its regulatory regime.

Since it is not yet clear when the LOK will enter into effect, the minister said he had decided to “develop a new policy based on the LBH,” where the island’s Gaming Control Board (GCB) can issue direct permits to operators.

“By having direct control over the issuing of licences to operators and exercising direct supervision over them, the GCB can itself carry out the necessary background checks on potential and existing license holders, thereby helping to identify and deter persons or entities with links to criminal activities, such as money laundering or organised crime,” said Silvania.

“The new policy therefore aims to increase confidence in our online gaming industry by mitigating the risks of criminal, fraudulent, misleading and unfair practices. This is also crucial in view of the upcoming CFATF Mutual Evaluation (MEVAL), which will take place in June this year.”

While Croes requested a copy of the licence, the minister refused citing “sensitive information” contained within.

Similar posts