The iGaming industry is not just big, but it is still continuously growing. Yearly statistics show that the revenues are climbing, inspiring widespread confidence that profits will remain healthy into the foreseeable future despite hurdles and problems like pandemics and economic instability. As a form of entertainment that has long enjoyed unflagging demand, online casinos and sportsbooks will always provide a worthwhile investment opportunity. It is also easy and effortless for the majority of the consumers given the fact that technology is constantly evolving requiring minimum effort by them.
Curacao E-Gaming License
The Curacao e-gaming license is one of the world's most popular e-gaming licenses. Due to its popularity, there are approximately four hundred fifty (450) online gambling operators licensed and operating within the jurisdiction. Back in 1993, Curacao created some of the first legislation in the world regulating the online gambling market. Three years later, in 1996, the government created the Gaming License Authority responsible for issuing the relevant licenses as well as supervising and monitoring the industry. By 2001, the Curacao Interest Gaming Association was created to ensure that all gaming operators were in line with the regulatory framework and the code of conduct.
Benefits of Curacao Gaming License
A primary question before perusing the Curacao gaming license is what are the benefits of having a gaming license in general. Firstly, it provides security since operators can operate their business without having to worry about any legal repercussions. Unlicensed casinos can be subject to heavy fines, especially if they are registered in a jurisdiction that regulates gambling. There is even a chance that the operators' representatives could spend time in prison. Eventually, the casino could get shut down by the authorities if it does not comply with the regulations of the jurisdiction where the company is seated. Secondly, it is easier to operate because most financial institutions require a license to be eligible to open an account with them. Also, a gaming license provides credibility and boosts a good reputation it grants the casino a significant amount of legitimacy in the players' eyes and contributes to the iGaming ecosystem, fighting stigmas and helping to create a just, trustworthy and transparent gaming industry. Finally, a license makes any online casino operations more appealing for software and payment service providers, many of whom refuse to cooperate with operators who do not have a license.
Attempting to run an online casino business without the proper license exposes the operators to a number of complicated and serious problems. Some operators decide that the costs of licensing and taxes are too high and seek to save money by operating without a license. However, while this may save some money in the short term, the costs of the consequences are far higher than any fees and taxes. In short, online casino licenses may present a significant up-front cost, but the financial effects of any fines and prison time will outweigh them in the long run.
Beyond the advantages of having a license in general, what makes specifically the Curacao gaming license so special?
Certainly, there are many benefits for the holder relating to the operation including corporate and fiscal incentives. Firstly, Curacao is perhaps the quickest, less-expensive, easiest and most accessible jurisdiction to get a gaming license from. It has a straightforward process plus an easy maintenance and it provides entrepreneurs with a great favorable opportunity to test their concept before tackling tougher licensing jurisdictions. There are still requirements that need to be met, but the amount of bureaucracy is limited and precious time is being saved. It also offers one license, regardless of the game type. Some of the activities that are covered by this license among others are:
- online casino games (roulette, blackjack, slots);
- sports betting peer to peer games (poker, backgammon, mah-jong);
- mobile phone games, betting;
- live dealing;
- fantasy football;
- various trading activity;
- pari-mutual and pool betting;
- network gaming;
- lotteries; and
However, the Curacao license strictly prohibits among others the following countries: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, France, Netherlands, Saba, Statia, St. Maarten, Singapore and USA.
Tax and other Incentives
One of the most significant and noteworthy advantages of obtaining a gaming license in Curacao is the low tax incentive. Τhe government of Curacao charges only 2% of the tax from the net profits of the online gambling businesses as well as 0% corporate income tax. This rate of tax is significantly lower than in many other jurisdictions and they do not create massive barriers for new iGaming industry entrants. There is also no sales tax, import duties, no tax on gross bets and no restrictions on the withdrawal of dividends. All income must be foreign sourced to benefit from the fiscal incentive and any applicable economic substance and or permanent establishment rules must be met. Despite being labelled as a “tax haven”, Curacao complies with the EU Code of Conduct against harmful tax practices. It is also a qualified intermediary from the IRS, an OECD jurisdiction, enforces CTF and AML compliance, and is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.
Furthermore, it allows the company obtaining the license to test the concept, get a license base and reinvest funds without having to pay a fortune in costly applications, taxes and fees. In other words, it supports holistic growth and allows the company to diversify into other markers segments, games and areas without taking a financial hit. All these benefits, combined with Curacao's strong financial service sector, well-developed telecommunications infrastructure and economic stability makes it the winning jurisdiction for iGaming startups from all over the world. It is also the home of several international, well-established gaming companies that have been operating there for many years, something which reflects that operations are stable.
EU-Cyprus Payment Processing Agent
Over the years, it has become very difficult for offshore companies in Curacao to accept online payments, due to the ongoing regulatory scrutiny and their consideration as ‘high risk'. Any operation will be limited by its ability to accept payments in some jurisdictions. Payment service providers often block card payments from jurisdictions where a local license is required. Given the fact that you need to accept payments on your website before people can start using these services, a payment processing agent is definitely required. A processing agent is a company that is part of the structure which processes payments for the website offering the online gaming services and receives a fee to satisfy any tax rules. The best jurisdiction to process with the incorporation of a processing agent, ideally should have a low tax rate and be eligible for access to a variety of credit-card payment providers. Considering the increased difficulties for Curacao entities to obtain bank account and/or merchant accounts in Europe, creating a structure which involves the Curacao company (which has the license to operate online gaming) and the payment processing agent (preferably an EU- Cyprus company) creates a powerful and strong foundation for the company's operations.
Our team will assist you to identify and set up the most suitable corporate structure, adjusted to your personal needs. We have a great experience in such activities and we can provide all the corporate vehicles and required licenses to effectively implement such structure. We also have a wide network of banks and payment processors and we will assist you with bank and merchant account opening.
Originally Published by Oxford Management, February 2021
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.