What drives many of my clients to the Curacao License is the fact that it is a good general license, perfect for startups and casino game developers. Once you have the license under your belt, there is nothing stopping you from applying for a regulated license such as the UK gambling license.
What I love about the Curacao gambling license is that you can run any type of gambling venture under one license. This non-complicated approach to running your business is a major plus especially for companies producing new and innovative games that may have no classification under a more traditional licensing regime.
You can run your rng casino, a poker room, bingo games, sportsbooks, lottery games, crash games, sweepstakes, raffle, crypto games or games of your own invention under the Curacao gambling license and we love it for this!
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency casinos tend to choose Curacao since the license is more inclusive than most others. We view this as a good thing since we believe in innovation.
What we cover
I am regularly asked the following questions and so I have taken the time to answer them:
- Who issues Curacao gambling licenses?
- Where is the Curacao gambling license valid?
- What does the Curacao gambling license cost?
- How long does it take to get the Curacao gambling license?
- What casino business can I run under a Curacao gambling license
- What taxes will I need to pay with my Curacao gambling license?
- How do I 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 gambling license?
- What is a white label license?
- I have written a new game, can I start a casino and use it under the Curacao gambling license?
Who issues Curacao gambling license?
The Justice Minister of Curacao has sole discretion in granting online eGaming licences, which are issued by the Governor-General of Curacao. Since 1996 there have been four Master Licences awarded; respective holders are:
- Antillephone NV #8048/JAZ (our preferred choice)
- Cyberluck Curacao N.V. (Curacao-eGaming) #1668/JAZ
- Gaming Curacao (GC) #365/JAZ
- Curacao Interactive Licensing N.V. (CIL) #5536/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.
NOTE: From 2023, licenses will be issued from a single, unified regulatory body (or so we have been told).
Where is the Curacao gambling license valid?
Curacao gambling operators are expressly forbidden, under Curacao law, from operating in the following jurisdictions: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, France, The Netherlands, Saba, Statia, St. Maarten, Singapore, and the USA.
This does not mean all other jurisdictions are “open season”, it simply means that they are not banned by the Curacao regulator.
If you wish to operate in the following markets: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, UK, Norway, Russian Federation, Mexico, Australia, UK and Canada, you may find that advertisers and PSP’s may block your ability to market your service or accept payments in those countries.
In general, the following countries are typically blocked for payments as a rule: Israel, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Cuba.
I additionally advise my clients to block Nigeria, Ghana and a number of other African countries where fraud is rife.
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.
What does the Curacao gambling license cost?
Depending on which master license holder you work with, the Curacao gambling license costs anything from €6,000 to €12,000 per annum.
But the right question to ask is: “What does it cost to maintain a Curacao gambling license?”.
To get the license you require a Curacao company and local management. The costs of this on paper is around €6,500 per annum but in reality you are going to spend between €15,000 and €25,000 in legal and administrative costs. Easy to do considering most companies will charge €200 EUR per hour in fees and this adds up fast.
Banking services are expensive so expect at least €2,000 per annum in banking costs.
You will also need to own hardware on the island in order to satisfy permanent establishment requirements (PE).
- Server cost: EUR 3000 + shipping
- Hosting costs: EUR6000/annum
Most Curacao companies own a subsidiary, locally known as a “processing company”. The purpose of this company is to sign contractual agreements with EU based payment service providers. Generally speaking these are setup in Cyprus and can add significant costs to your casino business with the wrong management company behind the wheel.
How to apply for the Curacao gambling license?
Your local representatives (managing director) will be responsible for applying for your gambling license once your Curacao company has been formed.
Before you setup your company and apply for the license, your business concept will need to be approved by the regulator. Once approved, you will then need to go through a lengthy eGaming application process.
The process will ultimately take 6 to 8 months to complete and involves background checks, criminal record checks, proof of residence, proof of income/investment amongst other things. In my experience, gathering, certifying and applying for the required documents takes time.
Also note, if your casino concept is non-traditional, the process can take longer as it will need to be approved by the regulator.
Here is the basic Curacao licensing process:
- 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)
How long does it take to get the Curacao gambling license?
It takes no more than two weeks to get the actual Curacao gambling license on condition all the paperwork is in place and your casino concept has been approved.
It takes around 6 to 8 months + to get the company setup with the required due diligence documents, business plans, AML documents etc.
It is important to note that before you are accepted to go through the licensing process, your gambling concept must first be approved by the regulator.
What casino businesses can I operate under a Curacao gambling 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, Poker, Back Gammon, Certain board games etc.
Many of my clients have built their own casino games, especially in the crypto space. It is important to understand that if the regulator does not understand your game, your game is not going to be approved for use under a Curacao license.
Part of what I do is to assist my clients with their concepts and to ensure that the offering is clear to the regulator.
What taxes will I pay under a Curacao gambling company?
Curacao has a 0% tax on foreign transactions. You will pay 6% VAT on local invoices and the normal tax rate (40%) on income generated locally.
It is important to realise that while there is mostly 0% tax, a large proportion of a Curacao gambling companies earnings is used to pay for local Curacao services which can be quite a substantial amount especially for smaller gambling companies which makes up the majority of the gambling ecosystem.
How do I apply for a Curacao gambling license?
Get in touch, I will assist you with the end to end process. My details are at the top of this page.
Can a foreign company apply for a Curacao gambling license?
No it can not.
If you do not wish to establish a Curacao gambling company, you can opt to setup a white label casino which is generally offered by an existing licensed Curacao gambling company.
What are the pros and cons of the Curacao gambling license?
- Lower costs when compared to other jurisdictions.
- One license fits all.
- A lower perceived standards when compared to other jurisdictions.
- A hands-off approach to disputes (not great for players).
- Payments/Banking are difficult (not great for you).
- General running of the business can be challenging.
Curacao gambling license as a service:
A managed Curacao gambling license is a white label operated under our existing Curacao gambling company. We own RGS casino software which we use to build white label casino brands using our and third party games.
If you have built your own casino games, we are able to go through a process to have your games approved by the regulator for use under our licence. Once approved, we can build a licensed casino brand using your games!
Our managed license is popular with game developers who wish to focus on marketing their games and not be burdened by the underlying company.
Take a look at www.gamblingtec.com for further information.
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