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Curacao Gambling License Reform: Will It Inspire More Confidence for Players?

Ah, Curacao, the little Dutch tropical island in the Southern Caribbean. Famous for its white sandy beaches and brightly colored buildings. It’s also famous for being the place where hundreds of online casinos are licensed. It’s likely that you're already familiar with these types of sites. They can serve up some of the biggest and best online slot collections as well as eye-wateringly good bonuses. 

Whilst Curacao-licensed casinos can be amazing, they've also attracted quite a bad reputation over the years. With licensing well-known for being a lot more permissive when compared to other regulators. 

Despite the island's tranquility, something has been rumbling though. There’s a whole shake-up going down and the Curacao Gaming Control Board is in the midst of it.

What’s Been Happening So Far in Curacao

The way that Curacao has been handing out licenses up until now is intriguing. It works completely differently from other gambling authorities. For example, the UK has the UKGC which is wholly responsible for licensing. Whereas Curacao has 4 master license holders, who then issue licenses directly to online casinos:

  • Curacao eGaming
  • Antillephone N.V.
  • Curacao Interactive Licensing N.V.
  • Gaming Curacao 

Currently, the Curacao Gaming Control Board and the Ministry of Finance and Financial Intelligence Unit sit behind these license holders. They have very little to do with player complaints and treatment though, and keep more of an eye on anti-money laundering protocols and financial compliance. This allows online casinos to make their own rules on most factors and decide how best to treat players (or not).

Up until now, it’s been very easy for platforms to get a license in Curacao. It’s also been very cheap with a cost of around €2,000 to €8,000 a month. When you compare this to a stricter gambling regulator such as the MGA, the online casino is saving itself a few hundred grand.

The only other requirement for a Curacao license was that the operator needed to have a fixed address on the island.

What’s Going To Change?

In 2020 the Netherlands government requested that the island reform its gambling regulations for foreign operators. In my opinion, this was a long time coming and it shouldn't have taken the Covid pandemic to get the ball rolling. Over the years I've been in iGaming, Curacao-licensed casinos have always attracted raised eyebrows. And often it’s unfair because many of the 400 licensed platforms do act in a compliant and trustworthy way.

From September 1st, 2023, the Curacao Gaming Control Board will issue licenses directly to operators. This means bypassing the four master license holders. It also means a tighter hold on the reins of how some online casinos behave.

The key features of the reform include:

  • Licenses will be granted using current legislation and not the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK)
  • Licenses will not give the operator the right to issue sub-licenses 
  • Licenses will have much stricter anti-money laundering and responsible gambling provisions
  • Licenses will cost operators a minimum of €49,000 plus application fees

Are Curacao Licensed Online Casinos All That Bad?

No way - and I don’t want any of you to feel worried if you've already been playing at these casinos. I am a huge fan of some of the most popular sites such as Bitstarz Casino and, and I've been playing at these for years. 

Let’s not forget that Curacao has done some great things for online casinos. Providing more access for more players around the world, giving us more choice, and allowing us to gamble with cryptos

Sure, there are rogue platforms that have cheated and used fake licensing details, along with ones that haven’t exactly treated players fairly. But if you’ve been playing at larger, more well-known Curacao online casinos, then you have nothing to worry about. 

What Will the Reform Mean for Players?

Well, you don’t need to start panicking and closing any of your Curacao casino accounts. The changes will allow the four master license holders to continue issuing sub-licenses for at least one year. This allows a transitionary period and ensures no disruption to us players.

I really welcome all of these changes and feel that uniform licensing is needed for our peace of mind. It also makes things fairer, especially for those of us who don’t live in countries benefiting from MGA or UKGC protocols. We’ll now get a more secure experience too. 

Overall, we all look to benefit from greater and stronger levels of protection. With more enhanced verification, AML, and responsible gambling protocols. After reviewing hundreds of Curacao-licensed casinos, I can tell you that these aspects can be heavily overlooked. 

Will The Changes Make Curacao Online Casinos More Appealing?

In my opinion, for those new to online casinos - yes. Players who don’t have the experience and insight into the industry probably won’t even think twice. They won’t have heard the negative stories or suffered firsthand at a dodgy Curacao site. So I think these types will dive straight in and think nothing less.

For those of us who have been around the block a bit more - I think it will take time for a mindset switch. I’ll still continue playing at the bigger and more popular online casinos - that certainly won’t change. But I think that a shift will be needed for the majority. Perhaps more experienced players might need to visibly see and feel the changes before making up their minds. 

This new reform may also bring over those players who consistently stick with the stricter gambling regulators. They will hopefully feel safer and more protected knowing that if something goes wrong, there are more reassurances. 

Whilst big bonuses and thousands of games are amazing, for me it always boils down to trust. Whenever I approach an online casino I'm all about reputation, security, and safety. If the Curacao reform can pull all of these things off, then its casinos are definitely going to pull in the bigger crowds.

What do you think about these changes? Will you be more inclined to sign up at a Curacao-licensed online casino?

Until next time, mates!

This article delivers the thoughts and opinions of the author, and it doesn't represent the stance of GoodLuckMate.

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Nicola Wrebel
Nicola Wrebel
Last Update: 09 Oct 2023
Nicola is an experienced casino expert and writer. With a background in customer support and quality assurance, she has gained extensive knowledge of the online gambling industry. As a freelance writer, Nicola has written over 400 casino reviews and articles on various gambling topics. She delivers unbiased content and has a passion for providing useful information to players.

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