It was Dutch-language media outlet Antilliaans Dagblad that reported the Gaming Control Board (GCB) of Curacao would be bringing online gambling into the scope of its oversight, building on its existing role in overseeing the land-based gaming sector of the locale.
The report suggests the new duties come as a result of the government of Curacao transferring responsibility for the regulation of gambling from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Finance. Henceforth, the GCB will serve as a regulator of “games of chance” in Curacao, and will be overseeing all such games “offered on or from Curacao”.
Curacao is a ‘constituent country’ of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Sint Maarten and Aruba. Dutch legislators have complained about Curacao-licensed online casinos for some time, as they have been serving Dutch participants without approval from gambling regulators in the Netherlands.
In 2016 it was claimed that the government of Curacao was preparing a national ordinance to deliver stricter oversight to the sprawling online gambling market, but there has been little followup on this.
The Minister of Finance in Curacao, Kenneth Gijsbertha, has been quoted as saying that the behaviour of some of the online licensees in the country detracts from Curacao’s international image. He has claimed that the GCB would be tasked with targeting illegal providers whose presence poses a threat to society by increasing the risk of citizens developing gambling problems.
More to the point, these unlicensed operators don’t contribute to their country and create an uneven playing field for competing legally operating providers.
The ease with which someone can obtain an e-Gaming sublicence in Curacao has drawn wide criticism from regulators in other countries. There are local companies that offer fast-track online gambling licensing programmes and boast of their ability to deliver online permit approval in less than 48 hours.
The promise of increased oversight has been welcomed by critics of the Curacao online gambling sector in the Netherlands. A “multibillion” industry like online gambling should yield benefits for the ordinary people of a nation without threatening political stability.