New gambling legislation in Curaçao will bring various benefits to players, and one of the most important, as Minister of Finance Javier Silvania claims, is creating a “safety net” that will prevent grey-listing in the country.
The National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) will be in charge of that, and it will completely change the gambling scene in Curaçao. The Gaming Control Board (GCB) has already opened the license application portal, which has been active since September 1st. On top of that, the body got a new advisor, Hilary Stewart-Jones.
The Board will accept applications from November 17th, and the ones who get the interim Curaçao license after which they’ll have six months to submit all required documents. According to Silvania, the risk of grey-listing is huge if anti-money laundering systems are weak.
After Gibraltar became a part of the Financial Act Task Force’s grey list, Silvania got worried. He said: “In particular, the FATF criticized the government’s failure in applying sufficient fines for anti-money laundering failings. AML is a key criteria of financial evaluations, one of which Curaçao will be subject to next year. And let me be very clear about it: the likelihood of us being placed on the grey list because our lack of AML legislation within the gambling sphere is real, and it is worrying.”
If Curaçao follows Gibraltar’s footsteps, many problems await. Among the most concerning ones are restrictions, or even the prohibition of trade from some companies and governments, which would greatly impact the country’s economy.
Silvania addressed it: “To those who have apprehensions about this legislation – I hear you. Changes are always met with skepticism, especially when they impact long-established practices. However, for all the operators out there, our intent is not to disrupt but to elevate.”
Priorities and benefits
The new system will definitely change the country’s economy, but it’s not only when it comes to revenue. In 2022, Curaçao earned €250.000. Compared to Malta, which earned €82 million, the revenue could get higher, but not only numbers are speaking – Silvania thinks that the two countries have different approaches and priorities when it comes to the gambling industry.
However, the workers currently employed in the hospitality industry will benefit from the new legislation since it will create more jobs.
Silvania finished: “The intent of our efforts to revitalize the legislative landscape is to develop Curaçao as a center of excellence in the gambling industry. This pushes the envelope for employment opportunities, and in fact there are many individuals and businesses out there who have no idea of the opportunities that are coming their way.”
Source: O’Hagan Marese, “LOK provides ‘safety net’ from grey-listing, says Curaçao Minister”, iGB, September 27, 2023