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 however the gaming license cost is a significant factor in your decision-making process and 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, 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 license. More often than not, financial institutions will not work with an entity using this for their gaming licensing purposes.
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 gambling/casino license?
- How much will the gambling license cost?
- How long does it take to get a 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 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?
The following are cost “estimates” only and should not be seen as some form of “Quote”. While we have tried to keep this information as up to date as possible, prices do change especially when considering the legal burdens, due diligence when processing gambling license applications.
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 with e-zone status (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) hardware is required to be owned on the island with the minimum requirement being that you host your client database on that server. This is something we can help you with and have reliable and resilient solutions for your needs.
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 e-zone company and applying for your gambling license.
- EUR5500 – EUR6500 one-time Incorporation fee
- EUR3250 – EUR5250 annual management fee
- EUR200 monthly administration costs (varies)
You can spend anything from EUR25,000 – EUR35,000 in your first year.
Licensing fees for the online gaming (sub)license are:
- EUR4500 (annual) license fee (costs vary between providers and we will make sure you get the best deal)
- EUR1000 – (one-time) application fee
- EUR250 – e-zone application and yearly 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. If you work with us for your hosting needs, we will provide you with a shared hosting account, a VPS server all linked up to your hardware.
- Server cost: EUR1200
- Hosting costs: EUR5400/annum (with us)
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?
It should not take more than three 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.
How do I apply for a Curacao gambling license?
Curacao is certainly the cheapest jurisdiction for your gambling license and we are here to help you with the application process. We are also available, at no cost, to assist you with your needs over skype or email.
Can a foreign company apply for a Curacao gambling license?
It is possible and completely feasible for a foreign company to obtain 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. Traditionally this method is used alongside a white label turnkey casino solution, however, with the advent of cryptocurrency and blockchain casinos, this is becoming a convenient way to obtain a gambling license without having to manage an expensive Curacao company.
When sublicensing, the company managing your license will be listed as the responsible party linked to your license and it is in their best interest to make sure your casino follows the rules and regulations. There are some tradeoffs such as your domain name needing to be under their control and hosting of your casino needs to be in Curacao. If you are running a cryptocurrency casino, additional regulations will apply.
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 it can be difficult to obtain a bank account and processing.
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 a variety of licensing opportunities from licensing through your own Curacao company to obtaining a sublicense through its licensed gaming entity. It also offers a type of turnkey licensing platform which is pre-integrated into payment solutions and third-party games.
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.
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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.