Curacao Implements New LOK with Digital Seal Requirement
Curacao is pressing ahead with the implementation of the new National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK). The Gaming Control Board (GCB) started accepting license applications on September 1, 2023, and as of January 1, 2024, all online casinos in Curacao licensed by the LOK must display a digital seal that proves to visitors that the site is licensed.
Curacao has been working hard to improve its licensing procedures and reputation. The new regulations are designed to improve transparency and help repair Curacao’s credibility within the industry.
Digital Seal Designed to Prevent Misuse
The GCB introduced the digital seal as part of its efforts to prevent misinterpretation and misuse of Curacao’s gambling framework. The new legislation is under the LOK, but it is yet to be approved by parliament members.
The current licensing structure is complex. There are master license holders who can award sublicenses. The new regulations will do away with this structure and hopefully improve the jurisdictions’ international reputation.
If an online casino displays a digital seal, then players can be sure that it is a licensed site. However, not all sublicense holders are eligible for the seal. Curacao’s Ministry of Finance issued a press release that explained that only gambling operators who have successfully completed the new registration process on the GCB’s portal may display the seal on their casino website.
Requirements for the Digital Seal
Online gambling operators have to fulfil a number of requirements to display a digital seal. To begin with, the seal must be given a prominent position on a landing page that visitors are highly likely to visit. It also must be completely legible and not obscured in any way.
Therefore, when visiting online baccarat sites licensed in Curacao, the seal should be easy to find and identify.
If an operator has a Curacao sublicense but has not yet completed the registration process, they are completely forbidden from displaying the seal. Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance warned that they should not falsely create the impression that they have met the criteria to display the seal.
Awaiting Details of Sanctions
There are a number of gambling authorities with similar regulations that aid transparency, such as the Dutch Gambling Authority. Authorities will generally make a list of licensed operators publicly available so players can do their own research.
However, as of yet, there has been no indication from the Ministry of Finance what sanctions will be handed out to providers who do not comply.
The digital seal displays the URL “cert.gcb.cw”. However, this website is not yet active and it is not known if the general public will be able to access a register of licensed operators.
A Simplified Licensing System
Under the new law, only companies registered in Curacao can register. This means they must have an address registered in Curacao and at least one named director in the territory.
Companies must submit documentation and sublicensees and new operators must apply via the GCB portal. The application consists of three forms: an application form, a corporate disclosure and a personal disclosure.
Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) who have more than 10% capital must complete a personal disclosure form, CEOs and other senior management.
The government will then process forms within two months of submission and successful applicants are granted a provisional license and have six months to provide the requested audited policies and procedure documentation.
Those operators who wish to continue as master licensees or sublicensees will be regulated by the CGA after they have registered on the portal. Master licenses may continue their day-to-day operations, but the new regulator must have a record of all license holders.