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The number 1 Alternative to the Curacao online gambling license

Monday, 27 February 2023

Curacao has been issuing online gambling licenses since 1996 when the industry was in its infancy. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the leading iGaming jurisdictions in the world, with operators drawn to the low setup costs, easy process, and hands-off regulatory approach. But the jurisdiction has not been without its criticisms, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dutch government said reforms were necessary if Curacao wanted to benefit from recovery funds. One of the reforms mentioned was overhauling the iGaming licensing regime, focusing on player protection and cracking down on money laundering.

Under the old regime, the authorities issued Master Licenses to private entities who were then granted the right to offer sub-licenses to applicants. Each entity retained responsibility for supervising and overseeing the activities of their sub-licensees which often meant a rather lax approach. In the current context of rising threats from financial crime, combined with the demands of the Dutch government, Curacao was forced to change.

Changes to the framework include establishing the Curacao Gaming Authority, which would be responsible for issuing licenses, supervising all activity and dealing with complaints and any possible violations. It also sees the creation of the B2C license and B2B license with fees starting at EUR 4000 for an application, EUR 12,000 for a year's license, and EUR 250 per URL. Another requirement is appointing three local employees into key positions and policies targeting monitoring, fair gaming and anti-money laundering.

Anyone with an existing Curacao license has the option to transfer to a new license over a period of 18 months or to transfer elsewhere. During this time, they would be assisted in aligning their operations with the new rules or moving their operations to another jurisdiction.

However, the rollout of the new framework is currently delayed. While it was initially supposed to come into force by the start of 2023, it is still under consultation and needs to be signed off by parliament.

Why entrepreneurs are looking elsewhere

The new Curacao gambling licensing regime is still low-cost and relatively straightforward, but the uncertainty of when it will come into force has put many off. At the end of 2022, the government said it would be ready by February 2023, but as that timeline has come and gone, there is no word of when the new deadline will be. The latest update from Curacao authorities was that the package of regulations is still awaiting an adjusted schedule from the Curacao Ministry of Finance and still needs to be shared and approved by the Dutch government.

Fast Offshore is working with existing Curacao license holders to help them transition to the new regime, but many new applicants are looking for alternative options, even if temporarily.

What is the best alternative?

The Kahnawake online gambling license is the preferred option for those leaving Curacao, or looking for an interim measure while local regulations are finalised. Fast Offshore has been working in the territory for over 20 years and is familiar with the process, benefits, and local authorities.

The Kahnawake Gambling Commission has a stellar reputation as being tough on unfair gambling practices and for placing player wellbeing at the core of everything they do. It takes between two and three weeks to get all documents ready for the application process and a further eight weeks to get approved. This makes Kahnawake one of the fastest jurisdictions to acquire an iGaming license in. As for what is required to get the license, as with any jurisdiction, there is a lot of paperwork and documentation involved, but it is not as intensive as some others. Holding a Kahnawake license means you can benefit from the jurisdiction's great reputation including trustworthiness and responsibility. This will encourage players to gamble with you, thus increasing your revenue. The license is an excellent choice for startups and established businesses and with zero taxes payable in Kahnawake, this means there is more liquidity for you to reinvest into your business.

What is the process?

In order to apply for a Kahnawake gambling license, you need to prepare the following documents:

  • Original Certificate of no criminal record of the owners of the company to ensure that there are no criminal records about these owners
  • Certified Copy(ies) of passport(s) not older than 3 months
  • Birth Certificate
  • Original Bank references of the owners; not older than 3 months
  • Personal Financial Statements for Directors, Shareholders and UBOs
  • Original or Certified Copies of utility bills not older than 3 months
  • Description and details of the games offered and gaming software being used
  • Confirmation of the RNG application and its fairness (3rd party certification) if applicable
  • Proof of hosting of servers in Kahnawake

You will need to apply for a Client Provider Authorisation and a Key Person Permit for every key stakeholder in the company. This process takes up to 10 weeks from start to finish.

  1. The first step is to apply for the CPA by submitting the application forms, supporting documents, Business Entity Information Form and the Personal Information Form. The latter must be filled out and submitted by every shareholder with more than 10% ownership and each person who will submit a Key Person License Application Form. In the case of a publicly traded corporation, information must be provided on each director, including an up-to-date CV and annual reports for the last three years.
  2. While applying for the Kahnawake gaming license, a company must also be incorporated in an offshore jurisdiction. Fast Offshore will take care of this, along with incorporating a contracting company, tax planning, and other corporate considerations.
  3. Another important step of the process is ensuring compliance with ethics. These include fair play policies, transparency, and ensuring the entity is not affiliated with criminality. The operator must also ensure they are not offering or allowing access to their games to minors of vulnerable users. Steps must also be taken to ensure data privacy, user confidentiality, and security.
  4. Once the application and all required documents have been gathered, they can be submitted to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. A decision on the application can usually be expected within 4 to 8 weeks. The first license will be issued for six months, during which time ongoing review and testing of the entity will take place.

What do I do now?

To get your online gambling business started, you need to talk to Fast Offshore. For over 25 years, we have offered custom and turnkey packages to entrepreneurs in the sector. These include incorporation in various jurisdictions, licensing, payments, compliance and all ongoing maintenance. For transparency, professionalism, and the best value for money, contact Fast Offshore today!

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