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Curacao/ Netherlands Antilles Gaming Laws
Many people ask, “Where is Curacao?”
Curacao is an island nation in the Caribbean. Formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, until its dissolution in 2010.
It is located off the coast of Venezuela, next to Aruba and Sint Maarten.
Curacao has become a hub for many online casino operations.
Below you can learn about the guidelines of the nation’s gaming laws and what it means for you as the consumer.
History of e-Gaming in Curacao
Curacao has become one of the most well-known e-Gaming operator locations in the world. The Caribbean Island got its start in the industry in 1993, when they created legislation for regulating online gambling.
Online gambling in Curacao got its jump start in 1996 with the creation of the e-Gaming License Authority.
As online gambling gained momentum, Curacao altered their gaming control structure to the format it still stands at today.
In 2002, Curacao gave the responsibility of regulating online gambling to the e-Gaming Licensing Authority. This had previously been the responsibility of the Curacao Gaming Control Board.
Around the same time, in 2001, Curacao also created the Curacao Internet Gaming Association. The association’s main responsibility is to ensure all gambling operations based out of the nation of Curacao adhere to the licensing requirements and code of conduct.
They also work as an intermediary between members and the government to implement gaming-friendly policies.
e-Gaming Licensing Authority
Since its establishment in 1996, the Curacao e-Gaming License Authority has grown to accommodate one of the largest gaming license demands in the world. This demand is due to many factors.
The licensing requirements in Curacao are intended to be manageable for even small startup online casino ventures. They offer IT infrastructure and hosting support for their members as well.
Other than the ease of startup, the main component drawing online casino owners to Curacao is the financial aspects of their licensing.
E-Gaming makes up a large portion of Curacao’s economy. Because of this, the nation has offered one of the most favorable tax structures in the world. This has brought in an incredible amount of e-Gaming businesses.
All licensed e-Gaming businesses must use hardware located within the governments e-zone. This is a special area of the country used to house the needs of the e-Gaming industry within Curacao and offers the nation the ability to provide incredibly low tax rates for online gambling companies exclusively.
Currently, they offer a corporate income tax of only 2%, with a 0% tax on gross incoming wagers. This means that any company licensed within the e-zone will not have to pay taxes on anything other than their profit.
On top of that, the amount of taxes they are required to pay on their profits is a mere 2%! This tax incentive is guaranteed until 2026, with no other taxes associated imposed.
Curacao is known for having low licensing costs. The total cost for setting up an e-Gaming license is around $36,000. Keep in mind that this cost only covers your licensing in Curacao.
All casino set up costs, such as casino software, design, etc. are not included.
CIGA, or the Curacao Internet Gaming Association, was established in 2001. Their main purpose is to act as an intermediary between members licensed within Curacao and the government.
CIGA works on behalf of the licensed members by representing them in a variety of ways. They speak on behalf of the members to strive for legislature and policies that benefit their businesses.
They can also represent members in any legal matters that need to be attended to with the local government.
As an intermediary, CIGA also represents the government in issues they have concerning members. This is mainly making sure the members are fully compliant with their licensing requirements. They also ensure that all members follow the code of conduct required for continued licensing.
What Does All This Mean for the Consumer?
This is all great news if you’re looking to start an online casino.
What does it mean for the consumer and online casino player though?
It means a lot of options and new choices as more and more Curacao based online casinos pop up.
Unfortunately, that is the only benefit of the licensing structure for you as the consumer. With the simplicity and affordability of obtaining a license to own an online casino, comes quite a few negatives for the consumer.
You will no doubt see casinos that did not have the necessary planning to operate, poor management, etc.
When these online casinos go out of business, what happens to your money?
There have been many instances of casinos shutting down without making their due payout to players. There have also been several instances of shady organizations who obtained licenses to take advantage of potential players.
Unfortunately, the government of Curacao will not get involved in disputes between online casino operators and consumers. This leaves you with little to no protection when gambling at a Curacao based online casino. Many don’t look at an e-Gaming License Authority seal from Curacao with any sort of credibility.
The sheer number of Curacao-based online casinos means you’re sure to encounter a few in your online casino search. Does this mean you should avoid them all and move on to a new casino? Definitely not. It simply means you need to do your research.
As you have read, Curacao offers one of the best cost structures and licensing requirements in the world. There will be many reputable casinos that choose to operate out of the nation.
They might even be offering better player incentives and bonuses due to lower operating costs.
I agree that a licensing seal from Curacao does not offer much credibility to a site. However, that does not mean the site is not credible or should be avoided.
Look for an online casino that has been around for a while.
Look for good customer service options, player reviews, and any other credibility attributes.
There are always a few bad apples in the bunch, but with careful selection, you can find a quality online casino.