All Curaçao master licensees will get a one-year extension upon passage of planned gambling reform legislation, according to an official from the island nation.
The move is to ensure continuity, according to new rules outlined by a representative of the Caribbean country’s Ministry of Finance.
Current sub-licensees must apply for a licence under the proposed regulations within three months, according to Sixiènne Jansen, an advisor to the ministry.
The government plans to phase out the master and sub-licensee system.
That regime has been criticised for offering little or no government oversight and Curaçao-based operators have been popping up on European and Australian blacklists for some years.
Jansen spoke on Wednesday (July 12) at the iGB LIVE conference in Amsterdam.
From September 1, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board can issue licences directly to successful applicants, with no opportunity to offer sublicenses, she said.
But the five current master licensees will still be able to offer sublicenses until their licences expire for another year after the new law comes into effect, the advisor said.
Master licence holders with remaining terms longer than a year will still be cut off 12 months after the law comes into force.
Sublicensees who do not apply under the new regime can also continue their business until the master licensee’s licence expires, Jansen explained.
Currently, there is no distinction planned between B2B and consumer-facing licences, according to the planned National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) as outlined by Jansen.
Licensees must supply audited policies and procedures within six months of gaining a licence, the advisor said.
In June, minister Javier Silvania said a new regulator, the Curaçao Gaming Authority, will be created to issue licences, monitor operators and handle enforcement.
He promised to offer more due diligence and improve transparency of funds entering the island.
The proposed licensing programme is at least in part a response to a 2020 Netherlands request that Curaçao reform its gambling regulations, as a condition for financial aid supplied as tourism crashed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional reporting by Harrison Sayers.