How Trustworthy are Curacao Licensed Gambling Sites?
When looking into online casinos to play at, probably the most important thing to consider before signing up is what type of license or licenses the operator has. This is because the role of the licenser and regulator is to make sure each casino is well-vetted before they issue a license.
There are only abut 12 licensing bodies and Curacao is one of them. It has several hundred casinos under its jurisdiction with plenty more joining up all the time. It is one of the most popular licenses around, with an inordinate amount of casinos clambering to jump on board. One of the reasons for this, however, is not because it has an honest and honourable licensing reputation, but because of the very relaxed standards it has. They are known to give out licenses to just about any casino that applies, whether they are reputable or not. As long as they can afford to pay the application fee. the Curacao eGaming license will hand out a license without much vetting or checking whatsoever.
These sub-standard guidelines have given Curacao the name, the “rubber stamp” jurisdiction, which means that they are frowned upon by the industry as a whole, because of their bad reputation. Recently there have been some moves towards trying to improve their standards, which is definitely a positive, however, can they turn things around enough to become as highly regarded as their counterparts; The UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority to name a couple? With regards to online gamblers, is it safe for them to play at casinos that are solely licensed by Curacao?
How Curacao Got Its Bad Reputation
One of the earliest licensing bodies in the online gambling industry was the Curacao eGaming license. It was launched back in 1996 under the name Cyberluck, at this time they were still part of the Netherlands Antilles and were up against other South American countries like Costa Rica and Antigua. Because of the large number of license holders they had, they were also financially the strongest and so came out the winners. Cyberluck became known for its lack of regulation over its casino and sportsbook operators with many failing to payout their players before going under.
Instead of stepping in to become more vigilant and vetting out their dodgy operators, Cyberluck took no action at all and at a later date decided to rebrand under the name Curacao eGaming, in the hope that they would be able to start off with a better name. While it’s fair to say that they have upped their game a bit, they still have a way to go when it comes to stepping in and settling disputes between gamblers and operators.
A Constituent of the Netherlands
Curacao has had a long history and attachment to the Netherlands, but in 2010 it became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy and also the oversight of the island's finances. The Ministry of Finance has taken over the online gaming sector, wanting to further improve their reputation, only time can tell whether they can turn the licensing jurisdiction’s reputation around.
Cheap Gambling Licenses
In comparison to other jurisdictions offering gambling licenses, Curacao is very inexpensive. What’s more, apart from the very low taxes and fees, the Curacao license is a master license, with sublicenses covering all the different types of gaming like sports betting, poker etc. Other Gambling jurisdictions are much more stringent, forcing the operators to obtain separate licenses for each type of casino gaming, which adds another layer of protection to players.
In a Nutshell
After examining the lucrative and easy requirements for obtaining a license in the jurisdiction of Curacao, is it any wonder that it is referred to as the “rogue” gaming site? Although not all operators with a Curacao license are dishonest, it tends to attract many that are. The lax regulations and licensing requirements make it easy for these “rogues” to cheat customers with little or no recourse.
Curacao’s Low Fees and Taxes
Their gambling ‘set up’ fees and ongoing yearly fees are a pittance in comparison to the other licensors. Even the UK Gambling Commission, whose fees are also very low, make up for this by taxing the operators 15% of the earnings from their online gambling income.
Approval Rating Very High
With almost all other licensing authorities, like UKGC, Danish Gambling Authority, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Malta Gaming Authority and other top-notch jurisdictions, there is a high chance of being rejected and refused a license. Unfortunately, the same has not been true for Curacao. There haven’t been any strict rules of entry and pretty much any operator that pays the low entry fees is given a gambling license.
Little or No Player Protection
Although Curacao is not the only licensing body that has behaved in a lax manner over the years, they have definitely not been known for their disciplinary measures towards their rogue operators, letting them get away with behaviour that has jeopardized the safety of their players.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
After more than twenty years of being run by the Ministry of Justice, the country is changing its direction in the hope of creating a much more secure and reputable gambling business from now on. It will start by the Ministry of Finance taking control of all eGaming licensing activities. The Ministry of Finance Gaming Contol Board (GCB) will be in charge of all online gaming with a very clear agenda of bringing this jurisdiction up to scratch and creating a much better reputation for themselves in the future. The Finance Minister, Kenneth Gijsbertha, was quoted as saying, “In the case of games of chance. Fairness of the offered payment of the prizes is not guaranteed, which disadvantages players and seriously detracts from the international image of Curacao.” He went on to add that Curacao licenses needed to get harsher in order to be in line with the international gaming laws, which bar any type of illegal activity such as money laundering and related crimes.
It is true that gambling sites have been able to get away with just about anything in Curacao and it certainly is still not a place for players to feel completely at ease. But we will continue to monitor the ongoing situation closely so that hopefully in the future the online gaming business in this tiny island will earn a better reputation through clean and responsible gambling regulations.