NOTE: Last update: June 13 2020
So you have been wondering how to get a gaming license? You may have looked at more traditional jurisdictions such as the UK or Malta. But the gaming license cost is a significant factor in your decision-making process and they are likely too expensive or bureaucratic to get. for this reason, a remote gaming license from Curacao is looking like an affordable option.
Your local gambling commission license requirements may be too onerous for your needs or simply too expensive. You want an online gambling license to service your immediate needs and at the right price.
A Curacao gaming license is probably your most affordable option to get your casino, poker, bingo, sportsbook, lottery, crash games, sweepstakes, or raffle licensed and online! It is more affordable than a Malta gaming license and less bureaucratic. In addition to this, Curacao corporate structures offer low tax incentives and offer great legal protection.
Further to the above, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency casinos are choosing to license in Curacao as the jurisdiction offers flexible and cost-effective sublicensing opportunities such as the great licensing offer by GamblingTec.com.
Costa Rica License as an alternative?
Some of our readers point out that a Costa Rica gambling license is considered a “cheap gambling license”. Be warned, it is not an actual gaming license but rather a data processing license. More often than not, financial institutions will not work with any entity using this for their gaming licensing purposes. Even if you are a cryptocurrency casino, a Curacao license is likely a better option, and partnering with GamblingTec.com is going to be your best way forward.
What we cover
Curacao is possibly the most affordable offshore gambling jurisdiction to be licensed in and comes with significant tax incentives. The purpose of this document is to answer the following questions:
- Who issues Curacao sublicenses?
- How do you obtain the Curacao gambling/casino license?
- How much will the gambling license cost?
- How long does it take to get the Curacao gambling license?
- What casino businesses can I operate with the license?
- Where will the gambling license be valid?
- What taxes will I need to pay?
- How to apply for a Curacao gambling license?
- Can a foreign company apply for a Curacao gambling license?
- What are the pros and cons of a Curacao gambling license?
Who issues Curacao sublicenses?
The Justice Minister of Curacao has sole discretion in granting online gambling Licences, which are issued by the Governor-General of Curacao. Since 1996 there have been four Master Licences awarded; respective holders are:
- Cyberluck Curacao N.V. (Curacao-eGaming) #1668/JAZ
- Gaming Curacao (GC) #365/JAZ
- Curacao Interactive Licensing N.V. (CIL) #5536/JAZ
- Antillephone NV #8048/JAZ
A Master Licence holder may grant Sublicences to online casinos and other gambling sites. Sublicensees are entitled to the full privileges granted to the Master Licence holder, with the exception that they may not issue Sublicences of their own. A single Licence covers all games of skill, chance, and wagering as well as all related peripheral activities such as software providers, service providers, network operators, platform operators, affiliates, marketers, and white-label operators.
How much will a Curacao gambling license cost?
This document contains “cost estimates only” and should not be seen as some form of “Quote”. While we have tried to keep the information as up to date as possible, prices change especially when considering the legal burdens and due diligence processes required in order to obtain a Curacao license.
Depending on where you go, you could expect to pay anything from $15 – $35k per annum. This cost depends on what you plan to do and where you obtain your license from. For instance, a White Label service provider may offer you a license and company for $15k per annum. because they will earn a lot more on the White Label services they offer to you. On the other hand, you may go directly to a trust management company that may charge you $25K per annum.
Where is a Curacao gambling license valid?
While Curacao licensed gambling operators are expressly forbidden to be used in certain countries, this does not mean your Curacao casino will be accepted in all other jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction has its own set of rules which will limit your ability to operate under the license. For instance, you may be prevented from using local payment solutions, or advertising your business without holding a valid local license. Your current PSPs may soft block some regions and interbank networks may refuse to process wire transfers from others. Payments, in general, should be thought of as an ever-moving target.
The Curacao license can be legally used in any jurisdiction other than the following where it is expressly forbidden under Curacao law: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, France, The Netherlands, Saba, Statia, St. Maarten, Singapore, and the USA.
If you do not have a local gambling license in the following jurisdictions: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, UK, Norway, Russian Federation, Mexico, Australia, UK and Canada, PSP’s “may” block payments from those regions. We use the word “may” as this is not always the case which is generally determined by the jurisdiction of the PSP being used.
In general, the following countries are typically blocked for payments as a rule: Israel, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Cuba.
If you hold a gambling license in an EU member state, the following countries will allow gaming under that license: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden
For a more detailed analysis of where the license can be used, we have compiled a post, which is a work in progress, on where the Curacao gambling license can be used.
How to get a Curacao gambling license?
In order to obtain the Curacao gambling license, you will need to go through an eGaming application process. The process is quick, so long as you have all the required documents in place.
- Incorporate a Curacao company (only local companies can apply for gambling licenses)
- The Curacao company will apply for a sublicense from a Master License holder
- Purchase hardware and sign up with local hosting (you are required to own physical hardware on the island)
- Apply for company bank accounts (even if you plan to a run a Bitcoin casino, you still need to pay your bills using traditional currency)
- Apply for e-wallets, PSPs, etc. (you will need reliable processors)
NOTE: Due to PE (Permanent Establishment rules) some regulators require that you own hardware on the island with the minimum requirement being that you backup your client database to that server.
Incorporation and management costs
You will be working with a local management company who will take care of filings and general administration requirements. They will also be responsible for setting up your company and applying for your gambling license.
- EUR5500 – EUR6500 one-time Incorporation fee
- EUR3250 – EUR5250 annual management fee
- EUR200 monthly administration costs (varies)
Expect to spend anything between EUR25,000 – EUR35,000 in your first year.
Licensing fees for the online gaming (sub)license are:
- EUR4500 to ERU 12,500 (annual) license fee (will vary between providers)
- EUR1500 – (one-time) application fee
You are required to own hardware on the island in order to satisfy the permanent establishment requirement (PE). This is not as difficult as you may at first imagine and we can help you with finding a second-hand machine pre-existing on the island or having one flown in.
- Server cost: EUR1200 – EUR 5000
- Hosting costs: EUR5400/annum
You are also free to host with the local data center, however, this is not a managed environment and does not come with cloud and shared hosting options as part of the deal.
How long does it take to get gambling licensing?
Once your company has been established, it will take a few weeks and on the condition, you have all your paperwork in place.
What casino businesses can I operate under a Curacao license?
Curacao has one license which covers all genre of gaming.
- Betting, Sports Betting, Sports Books
- Casino Games, Video Bingo, Video Slots, Slot Machines, Video Poker
- Table games, Poker and other card games
- Lotteries, Raffles
- Games of Skill, Rummy, arguably Poker, Back Gammon, Certain board games etc.
Does a Games of skill need a gambling license?
It is worth mentioning games of skill as this is often a contentious issue. Often operators attempt to classify their games as a game of skill in order to avoid getting a gambling license. While in some cases this may be true, the ultimate acid test is whether the banks will offer merchant processing to your game or not. A good blueprint is to take a look at the Malta controlled skill game regulations to better understand your game designation.
What taxes will I need to pay with my Curacao Gambling License?
Curacao has a 0% tax on foreign transactions. You will pay 6% VAT on invoices and the normal tax rate (40%) if you do business with other Curacao companies.
How do I apply for a Curacao gambling license?
Your first step is to download our Curacao, license application document. From there, get in touch for a call.
Can a foreign company apply for a Curacao gambling license?
It is possible and completely feasible for a foreign company to obtain the benefit of a Curacao gambling license.
A foreign company cannot apply for a sublicense directly from a master license holder, instead, they must apply through an existing licensed Curacao company as a type of white label/turnkey casino solution. This is a convenient way to get your license sorted out since it is a lot quicker. If you run a cryptocurrency or blockchain-based casinos, this is the recommended way to work. We call it a managed service, get the managed service document!
When sublicensing, the company managing your license will be listed as the responsible party. When users click on your license seal, it will reflect the managing entity and for this reason, it is in their best interest to make sure your casino follows the rules and regulations. There are some tradeoffs, hosting of your casino needs to be in Curacao which can be a node or a backup of your database.
What are the pros and cons of a Curacao gambling license?
The pros of a Curacao gambling license relate to lower costs to obtain, offers a simple application process, and is an all-inclusive license (you can offer sports betting and casino games on the same license).
The cons of the license are lower standards when compared to a jurisdiction such as Malta, a hands-off approach to disputes, difficult to market in some jurisdictions, and in some cases, reputation.
Do note that Curacao is actively working at improving its reputation and re-writing legislation in order to improve the perception of its license.
Alternative casino gambling license options:
We work with GamblingTec.com that offers two licensing opportunities. The first is a Managed Service which allows your existing company to contract with its Curacao company. The second is for game developers to integrate their games into its existing platform and then to promote those games via an affiliate website.
Managed Casino + License
You work with a management consultant who sets you up with a sublicense under an existing Curacao company. This is a highly recommended way to get your casino up and running and such a partnership comes with many benefits such as existing relationships in terms of processing and banking.
Platform + License
For game developers and casino entrepreneurs, a further option is to set up a platform based casino which operated under the license of GamblingTec.com. The platform is an accounting, bet/collect system that your game can easily plug into.
We recommend taking a look at www.gamblingtec.com.
A GamblingTec casino can be converted into a stand-alone licensed entity at a later date which is convenient and an easy way to test out your casino related concept.
Get in touch:
FURTHER INFORMATION ON CURACAO GAMBLING LICENSES
We wrote an article on Curacao Gambling License which may be of interest to you should you be looking for further information.