Curaçao has licensed the first gambling company under its transitional regime, as it moves towards complete reform of its controversial licensing system.
The island’s regulator, the Gambling Control Board (GCB), announced on Monday (February 5) that White Star BV had been awarded the first of its new generation of licences.
The company is a subsidiary of Rhino Entertainment Group, which has offices in Malta and Cyprus, as well as licences from the Kahnawake territory and the Canadian province of Ontario.
The group’s most prominent brand is CasinoDays, which the regulator hailed as a “pioneer” in a press release.
As well as its first direct licensee, the GCB said it had awarded the country’s new Digital Seal to Games and More BV, Geeka Corporation NV and Small House BV.
Companies can display the seal if they either gain a direct licence from the regulator or register their intent to be licensed under the new regime.
Legislation that would formally overhaul Curaçao’s existing licensing system, in which a small group of master licence holders effectively sub-contract their authorisation to an unknown number of other brands, is still yet to be passed by the country’s parliament.
But the GCB announced last year that it would begin to issue licences under a transitional model and invited companies to register their interest in becoming directly licensed — something that will be a requirement under the new law.
The draft law, known as the LOK, has faced criticism in parliament over allegations of rushed drafting, but government officials insist it is on track to enter into effect soon.
Commenting on granting Curaçao’s first of its new breed of licences, newly appointed GCB managing director Cedric Pietersz said: "2024 heralds a transformative period in the regulatory landscape of Curaçao's gambling sector.
“Since opening our doors to applications less than 12 weeks ago, the volume of submissions has far exceeded our expectations. White Star's licensure holds a special place in our hearts and history. It signifies a pivotal moment for Curaçao’s evolution into a top-tier gambling jurisdiction with many more licences in process.”
"Being the first to receive this direct licence is not only a privilege but a thrilling endorsement of our commitment to excellence and responsible gaming,” said Rhino Entertainment Group CEO Ross Parkhill.
“We wholeheartedly support Curaçao's enhanced regulatory processes, recognising the added value and prestige it brings to our licence. We look forward to fostering an open and communicative relationship with the GCB, ensuring a bright and compliant future for online gaming."