Curaçao’s draft National Ordinance on Gambling (LOK) is running into complaints, with the influential Advisory Council (RvA) saying it has a “number of objections” and recommending that it be extensively revised.
The planned regulator would need to be more financially independent from the finance ministry to meet constitutional standards, the RvA said.
The council also cites Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines which call for supervisors of gambling and other services to be financially independent from the government.
The current regulator, the Gaming Control Board, is not government-funded, as the planned Curaçao Gaming Authority Foundation would be, and transitional arrangements are not included in the draft bill, according to the advisory council.
The draft bill also lacks provisions for what the council calls a “coherent and balanced charging and collection system” for fees, the council wrote, as well as lacking clarity on what constitutes an adequate form of the required alternative dispute resolution service.
The council noted that, in April 2023, it received a request to provide “urgent advice” within six weeks, while the Council of Ministers only cleared the ordinance on June 7.
It was critical of the delay, plus the rushed nature of the proceedings, saying “emergency advice can detract from the quality of the current national ordinance”.
The council wrote its opinion on August 22, and it was published on January 3.
This week, a parliamentary committee debated the draft bill, with members of parliament including Steven Croes calling the bill “far from ready”, according to Antilliaans Dagblad newspaper.
The draft bill was submitted to parliament in December with few changes, according to the newspaper.
Also this week, the Bar Association of Curaçao voiced fears that the draft bill contains provisions that would impinge on the independence of lawyers.
In a letter, the bar association raised concerns that the fact that the Curaçao Gaming Authority will be issuing accreditation to legal service providers would contradict their independence, according to Curacao.nu website.
The association contends that the regulator is not qualified to judge lawyers on competence or subject them to restrictions.
It also maintains that Curaçao law reserves such matters for the Joint Court of Justice and the Supervisory Board of the Legal Profession.