Curacao has been providing its online gambling license services since 1996, making it one of the oldest providers of such in the world. Over those years, it has become known as one of the oddities of the gambling world, though. Many questions have been raised over its operating regulations for licensees and how legal they really are. However, multiple operators have continued to utilize the services of this jurisdiction. Why?
Well, the prime reason could be due to the simplicity of not only obtaining a license, but of retaining it as well. Curacao is not known for keeping an in-depth check on its licensed brands, so they have a lot more freedom to operate to their own rules, so to speak. This is why many online poker rooms, casino sites, bingo halls and so on have opted to apply for such licenses.
Rather than opt to go through the long and often difficult vetting process that many established and respected regulatory bodies require, a portion of online gambling sites opt for simpler routes. This just requires them to locate their servers and their operations in a low tax haven, which is precisely what Curacao offers. And while this does allow a variety of operators to bring their gambling sites to the online world in a licensed way, can it be said that it provides as much protection for consumers as some other licensing bodies?
It is, however, due to the Curacao eGaming body that so many offshore sites have been able to provide their gambling services to the U.S. market for so long. While masses of states do not allow online gambling operations within their borders (and those that do are restricted to sports betting more so than anything else), these offshore platforms are accessible for players to enjoy their time gambling at.
Despite the negativity that sometimes surrounds Curacao’s licensing body though, processes are being put in place to tighten up regulation. The island nation comes under the rule of the Netherlands, and as part of a recent decision made to send monetary aid to Curacao to help with the impact of COVID-19, the European country requested that it sorted its gambling regulations out. Therefore, all licensed sites should be well-vetted and consistently monitored by the jurisdiction as a result.
How to Be Sure That a Site is Curacao-Licensed
Visiting an online poker room, casino or anything else shouldn’t just be a “find one and sign up” process. You need to check that the site caters to you and has certain features in place to ensure your security. Ensuring that such a gambling site also possesses a gambling license is another feature to look out for, too. Should a poker room be licensed by Curacao, then you should be able to locate the regulatory body’s own logo at the bottom of the specific website.
This looks like a shield with the blue, yellow and white flag of Curacao in the background. Curacao eGaming may also be written across this at the top, too. Be sure to keep an eagle eye out for any that may have an exclamation mark over the shield, as this represents a fully licensed operator but one that is failing to comply with licensing obligations. Any that have a red background to the shield are invalid and should therefore be avoided.
If this is not something that you can find at the bottom of the poker room website, then you can sometimes find the license in another way. Simply visit the Terms of Service (ToS) section on the website you are curious about and then scroll through the information to find a section dealing with licenses. There, you will find a link to Curacao, where the official shield-design seal should be displayed. Click on this and you will then see the validation page of Curacao eGaming. If you see the words “Operating Status: VALID”, then the license is a good one. Therefore, the platform is fully regulated by the body.
Platforms Currently Licensed by Curacao eGaming
While it is true that a multitude of online gambling brands hold a license from the Curacao eGaming brand, some of the world’s largest poker rooms have also confirmed their licensing status with the jurisdiction recently. Whereas before the licensing status of these brands was very much unconfirmed, these companies have since revealed their Curacao eGaming licenses for visitors to see.
It is those poker rooms that utilize the Pai Wang Luo network that find themselves being licensed by the Curacao eGaming regulatory body. So, when you visit sites like Ignition Poker and Bovada, you will find that they are fully licensed by the jurisdiction. Related casino sites also possess such a license, including Slots.lv, Café Casino and Joe Fortune. Other brands that hold a Curacao license include CyberBet, UBC365, and Wazobet.
In all circumstances, to view the licensing certificate, you will need to visit the Terms of Service section and scroll down to find the seal. Clicking on this will then take you to the official Curacao eGaming page for the casino or poker room in question. While this is a slightly longer way around of figuring out the licensing status of an online site, it is still better than wondering if it actually holds an official license or not.
Advantages of a Curacao eGaming License
Curacao is held favorably by multiple operators due to the extra low tax rates and inexpensive licensing protocol. The country charges a minimal tax of 2% on net profits at the moment and it does not enforce highly restrictive barriers for operators, either. And while this could change in the coming months as mentioned earlier, this is what has drawn many companies to the island nation to secure their gambling licenses.
To secure a master gambling license, it costs a total of 60,000 ANG, or roughly $33,500, to setup and then 10,000 ANG ($5,600) per month for the first two years. Following that time period, the operator has the option of negotiating with the government of Curacao to arrange fees going forward from there.
What is more, any operator possessing a master license can provide a sub-license to others. Of course, the master license holder is responsible for all sub-licensees, but this provides extra incentive to such operators.
The fact that Curacao also has such simple gambling laws does make it that much more appealing overall, too. Any gambling operation can take place from just a single license held, meaning that you could run a poker room, casino, sportsbook, bingo hall or a combination of all of them from just one Curacao license. This makes it a significantly easier process than if you were to apply for a license from the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority, for example.
Disadvantages of a Curacao eGaming License
Perhaps the biggest drawback regarding Curacao licenses is that for a long time they haven’t really meant much. Therefore, it has often been the case the gambling sites possessing such have not been taken so seriously. Hopefully with the changes that the jurisdiction is being forced to make by the Netherlands, this will change, though.
As noted, due to the easier application and licensing process, the rules and regulations in place are not quite as respected as those from other jurisdictions. Curacao tends to stay out of disputes between players and the licensed platforms, and platforms can often escape punishment when going against rules because Curacao often does not care.
However, those sites are not overflowing beyond the legitimate operations. Plenty of legit sites exist with Curacao eGaming licenses, including those that we recommend. They all provide legal and regulated environments for you to enter into and feel secure in.