When starting a gambling business, first of all it’s important to think about one of the most essential procedures, that is business registration and acquisition of license.
Today there are lots of licensing jurisdictions, located all over the world and offering different terms for their customers, including favourable tax environment. What’s more important, a future online casino owner gets an opportunity to start gambling activities even if his country of residence does not have corresponding jurisdictions by turning to offshore ones.
Among dozens of countries offering gambling licensing services particular attention should be paid to Curacao jurisdiction, which is considered to be one of the most promising for gaming business in terms of many factors.
Curacao – gambling island
Curacao (Curaçao) is an island belonging to Lesser Antilles located in the Caribbean Sea. Up to 2010 it used to be an independent constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, though currently has the status of autonomy.
Curacao is an offshore zone charging low taxes and possessing highly developed infrastructure; that is why the majority of gambling companies are registered under this very jurisdiction. Curacao gaming licenses have been issued since 2001. Starting from 2002 legislative system of Curacao considers online gambling as separate variety of the industry. IGambling is officially regulated by the National Decree on Gambling – “National Ordinance Offshore Games of Hazard”.
Regulators and Licensors
Cyberluck Curacao N.V.
Issues master use licenses approved by Curacao Justice Department. Since 1999 its centralized authorities regulate online gambling business matters.
Curacao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA).
Curacao iGambling Association (CIGA) is both a regulator and a licensor. It includes around 30 companies functioning as online gaming operators and the rest of enterprises involved into the industry of iGaming. CIGA represents and promotes its interests as well as ensures compliance with the code of conduct and general principles of fair business practices.
Types of licenses
Authorized bodies of Curacao issue two types of licenses:
- Masterlicense – Curacao basic license;
In this report we provide detailed instructions on how to obtain a sub-license, as currently Curacao issues only the second type of licenses. There are only three master license holders on the island. They are predominantly agents issuing sublicensing to operators, as well as provide multiple business support services. Theoretically, you may become one of them having obtained a fully functional license. However, these days it’s practically impossible, as this market is already monopolized. Agents issue sub-licenses under special conditions that do not actually differ from one another. Sub-licenses enable to operate all over the world except in Curacao itself, the Netherlands, France and the USA. Sub-licenses do not allow assignment of rights to the rest of operators.
Advantages of Curacao gambling licenses
Curacao gambling licenses give the following advantages:
- Prestigious Curacao jurisdiction;
- Operation on the European market;
- Low costs compared to the rest of jurisdictions;
- Low taxes;
- Simplified licensing procedures, minimum requirements;
- One license for all types of gambling businesses;
- Minimum terms of license issuing.
Currently this license is considered to be the best one in price/quality proportion. It takes around 3 weeks to obtain it, while the whole procedure in general is quite complex. That’s why Curacao is one of the most popular jurisdictions in the world. According to statistical data, around 1/9 of all the existing gambling projects are using Curacao licenses.
Curacao licensees are subject to the following taxation procedures:
- 0% tax out of total revenue from bets.
- 2% corporate income tax.
- No VAT.
- No sales tax.
- No duty on imports.
- No limits on revenue withdrawals.
This taxation system, however, is not applicable to all the organizations functioning on Curacao. It is applicable to specialized tax zones called e-Zones.
Steps to obtain a gaming license of Curacao
Documents necessary for registration of the company:
It is also necessary to open a bank account. In terms of this jurisdiction there are no rigid requirements set by the licensor, so the list of documents for bank account opening depends upon the requirements of the bank.
In order to obtain a Curacao gaming license it is necessary to provide the following package of documents:
Moreover, it is necessary to fill in several forms and declarations issued by the licensor itself.
Another exclusive requirement is availability of a transit server to Curacao. It is a key instrument, as long as all data regarding the project is passed through it and the regulator itself has the possibility to track it at all times.
Consequently, it is necessary to purchase appropriate software for such a server and annually pay upon its technical support and maintenance. Configuration of the server is determined by regulator´s requirements and operator´s needs.
The following table includes approximate prices actual for 2016.
* number of domains is unlimited, maximum annual domain user fee doesn’t exceed $12000. Payment for the first two domains is not charged.
** Server maintenance costs vary from $6000 up to $8000 depending on the type of equipment.
As can be seen from the above, the general cost of a turnkey gaming license accounts for around $20 000. It includes registration of the company+the license itself.
Additionally operators have to pay for:
- Bank account opening: $1000 – $2000, depending on the type of bank;
- Transit server;
- Consultancy services: $100 – $300 per hour.
Payments for the second operational year:
- 2% – income tax;
- licence fee ;
- annual payment for company management reimbursed to the agent;
- payment for additional domains (if necessary);
- payment for server maintenance.
Currently there exist numerous jurisdictions established specifically for licensing and regulation of the gambling business. Not taking into account the fact that online casinos have opened its doors to gamblers from all over the world, still there is no unified legislation applicable to such type of business. Different jurisdictions have different licensing requirements so that gambling laws might differ greatly. That is why operators should consider their choice of a licensor.
Experts from Slotegrator provide consultancy services and professional guidance for online projects in terms of licensing and will eagerly assist you with making only the right choices.