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Curaçao Aims to Avoid Grey-Listing with New Gambling Laws

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During the opening day of the SiGMA Curaçao event, Finance Minister Javier Silvania spoke about the upcoming National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK) law that is set to bring major changes to Curaçao’s gambling sector.

LOK Designed to Prevent Grey-Listing

Minister Silvania pointed out the LOK’s function as a "safety net" to shield Curaçao from grey-listing threats, which are a concern due to Curaçao’s weak anti-money laundering (AML) protocols.

He referred to Gibraltar as a cautionary tale. Gibraltar was recently added to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list, mainly because of its inadequate AML measures, which led to Curaçao authorities worrying that it may suffer a similar fate.

Curaçao will undergo a financial review by the FATF next year, and Silvania warned of the serious risk of landing on the grey list. Such a development could lead to trade limitations with specific countries and adversely affect local businesses.

Economic Motivations Behind LOK

The LOK has also been designed to boost Curaçao’s economic standing. Currently, there is a vast gap between Curaçao’s and Malta’s licensing revenues. Malta raked in €82 million in 2022, while Curaçao only managed around €250,000.

Minister Silvania is calling for a transition from being a jurisdiction for easily attainable licenses to one that is both more lucrative and beneficial for operators and residents. He also noted that a sector with good gambling regulations could benefit various economic areas, ranging from corporate and banking services to real estate and software development. It could also drive job growth and local economic development.

In anticipation of the LOK’s implementation, Curaçao has extended master licenses for an additional year. This move aims to streamline the licensing procedure while improving compliance with AML and responsible gambling norms.

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