Curacao is an island that belongs to the Lesser Antilles group, located in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is a self-governing state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, known for its simple and attractive gambling laws. Gaming licenses issued in Curacao are the choice of many betting platforms and online casinos that operate on CIS, Middle East, Scandinavian, and EU gaming markets.

Why Get a Gaming License?

Gaming License is a permission issued by a special committee. It proves that the business that holds it is legitimate and can guarantee the players payouts and winnings. All types of gambling activities, such as poker, lottery, roulette, sports betting, slots, etc. require a gaming license.
Besides being a proof of a legal and trustworthy business, gambling license allows online casinos to buy software from leading providers and customize payment systems that are reliable and let the players place bets and receive winnings in multiple ways. In general, a gaming license obtained from a relevant jurisdiction lets a company build trust with its players, who, naturally, prefer not to deposit money with non-licensed casinos that do not guarantee that their winnings will be paid in time and in full.

The difficulty with getting a gaming license is that, in different countries, gaming business is treated in very different ways. There is no universal gaming law that is by default applicable in every part of the world, and the terms and costs of obtaining a license can vary a great deal. Currently, Curacao is considered one of the most reliable licensing options, with its simple procedure, attractive benefits, and comparatively small fees.

Introduction to Curacao License

Curacao was among the first to offer gaming licenses to international businesses. Since 1996, these licenses have been acquired by some of the world’s leading providers of online gaming services.

Because of the island’s unique status as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it can take advantage of the regulatory benefits of the European Union without actually being a part of it. What’s more, Curacao is not subject to high European tax rates. Curacao jurisdiction is accepted by such international organizations as Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Curacao Gaming license covers all forms of digital gaming products and services, including lotteries, betting sites, bingo, online casinos, etc., so there is no need to apply for separate licenses.

The following are the types of products and services that can be offered under this license:

  • Affiliate services
  • Bingo
  • Fantasy Football or similar games
  • Live dealing
  • Lotteries
  • Marketing services
  • Mobile games and betting
  • Network gaming
  • Online casino games (roulette, blackjack, slots, etc.)
  • Parimutuel and pool betting
  • Peer-to-peer games (poker, backgammon, mah-jongg, etc.)
  • Skins
  • Sports betting
  • Various trading activities

Advantages of Curacao License

Gaming operators from all over the world choose this license because of a quick and relatively inexpensive procedure: any company which offers legitimate gaming services and has the money to pay the fee is likely to receive approval.

The “master” license cost includes a one-time fee of €1500, and an established monthly fee paid for the first two years. After this time period, the fee can be negotiated with Curacao government. The operator holding the master license can lease out sub-licenses that come with the same benefits as the master license. These sub-licenses can be issued to anyone, but the holder of the master license bears responsibility for all activities of the holders of sub-licenses.

Curacao Gaming License offers its holders multiple benefits:

  • Saving money: This license is the least expensive one among the Big 3 gaming licensing options;
  • Saving time: the licensing procedure normally takes no more than two weeks;
  • Tax benefits: entrepreneurs holding this license only need to pay a 2% tax on net profit;
  • Low annual fees and almost no paperwork;
  • All types of e-gaming products and services (betting sites, web casinos, poker, bingo, etc.) are covered with one license;
  • Innovative IT infrastructure that has the gaming site running with no downtime;
  • Up-to-date, fair and compliant regulations.

Curacao E-Zones

E-Zones are geographical areas with special tax incentives that are only available for the limited liability companies whose admittance to the area has been approves by the local government. The main advantage of an E-Zone is that, apart from the 2% tax on net profit, there is no turnover tax, import duties, or, in fact, any other taxes.

To enter the E-Zone, a company needs to export goods or perform services for the customers outside Curacao, and is expected to contribute to Curacao’s economic expansion. Among others, civil law notaries, registered accountants, tax advisors, lawyers, and companies that offer services of similar kind are excluded from the E-Zone tax regime.

Although virtually any company from anywhere in the world can obtain a Curacao license, it is highly recommended to establish a company in the local E-Zone to get the maximum advantage.

E-Zone companies that hold Curacao License receive the following benefits:

  • Dividend withdrawals without restrictions;
  • No VAT, import duties, or sales tax;
  • For companies retaining annual compliance, 2% corporation tax;
  • 0% tax on gross bets.

The basic requirements for an E-Zone company are as follows:

  • The company needs to have a bank account in Curacao;
  • Company’s administration needs to be executed in the E-Zone, exclusively;
  • The company’s goods and services must be offers in or from the E-Zone;
  • The company must appoint local director(s);
  • The company’s warehouses, offices, etc. must operate during the work hours established by the E-Zone regulations;
  • The staff employed by the company must perform its duties exclusively for this company;
  • Only a negligible part of the operations can be carried out by the people not employed by an E-Zone company.

Getting the Curacao License

Online gaming sector in Curacao is regulated by E-Gaming, the License and Information Provider (IP) for Curacao-based web casinos.

The application process for Curacao e-gaming license consists of four steps.

Step 1: Pre-approval
To apply for the eGaming and IP License, a company first needs to get pre-approval through Empire, a corporate service provider. Pre-approval process requires submitting basic information about the applicant and a non-refundable fee. Normally, this preliminary approval is granted within 24 hours.

Step 2: Application
Once the pre-approval has been granted, the company submits an application form, the supporting documents, and the required fee to Curacao eGaming. There is a number of one-time fees and deposits that the approved applicants need to pay.
The process of evaluation begins once the application fee has been received.

Step 3: Evaluation
If the application and other required documents are incomplete or fail to comply with the requirements, Curacao eGaming gives the applicant a checklist of the non-compliant items. The license is issued once all the requirements have been fulfilled.

Step 4: Starting the Operations
If all the previous stages have been completed successfully, the gaming company can begin its operations within 60 days. If violations or fake license claims occur, Curacao e-gaming authority moves to terminate such operations immediately.

In a Nutshell

With its attractive tax rate and a fast and easy licensing process, Curacao is an excellent choice for a web gaming operator, especially the one that wants to offer multiple games with a single license. A group of experts who possess the relevant on-the-ground experience guides the applicant through all stages ensuring a smooth flow. There are clear written agreements outlining the charges and refund policy.

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