Netherlands Report Details Curaçao Deadlines For Gambling Regulation

April 24, 2024
Dutch authorities have set a new deadline of June 30 for the Curaçao government to establish and publish the highly anticipated National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK).

Dutch authorities have set a new deadline of June 30 for the Curaçao government to establish and publish the highly anticipated National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK).

Two deadlines have already been missed. The original expected dates for the LOK publication were October 1, 2023 and January 31, 2024.

The update on the LOK was provided by Alexandra van Huffelen, the state secretary for the Interior and Kingdom relations to the House of Representatives, on her visit to Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten in a report presented on April 19.

Van Huffelen questioned the decision by Curaçao’s minister of finance, Javier Silvania, to submit the draft of the LOK to Curaçao’s parliament in December 2023 before allowing the Temporary Work Organization (TWO) to look at it.

TWO is part of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and supports the agreed package of reforms in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

“I have indicated to the minister that I do not think this is the right procedure,” van Huffelen said. “The minister then promised to share the Memorandum of Amendment to the draft LOK with me, so that the TWO could test it against the agreements in the National Package. This has now been done.”

Curaçao’s new permit-granting process and model permits should now be in place by July 1, officials said.

“Any input from the TWO will be taken into consideration by Curaçao, to the extent possible and desirable for an optimal licensing process and effective regulation of the sector. The concepts are finalised after the LOK has been determined,” according to the country-specific report on Curaçao.

Other new deadlines have been provided for the reform of Curaçao’s online gambling market. 

TWO will assess whether secondary legislation not covered in the LOK, such as anti-money laundering provisions, technical requirements and addiction prevention provides sufficient guarantees by June 30. 

The planned new gambling supervisor, the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA), will have its development plan ready and compliant with the LOK by June 1. This will see the recruitment of staff to process applications from permit holders.

On July 1, 2025, the CGA, having adopted its development plan, will begin implementing changes, including adjusting and establishing processes and procedures.

In January of this year, Silvania complained of “misinformation” about the LOK draft, adding that a licensing timeline issued on December 20 has not changed.

The draft was criticised by parliamentarians, the Bar Association of Curaçao and an influential advisory council.

Criticisms also included an Antilliaans Dagblad opinion piece, which claimed that the draft bill submitted to parliament on December 19 contained almost no changes, despite an extensive critique by the advisory council.

On February 5, 2024, the island’s current regulator, the Gambling Control Board (GCB), announced that White Star BV had been awarded the first of its new generation of licences.

At the end of March, the GCB extended the deadline for application submissions for its new licences by one month until April 30, 2024, due to “certain logistical difficulties that some applicant sublicensees have been facing”.

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