Curaçao Gaming Companies: Navigating the Hub of Online Gaming

Curaçao has long been recognized as one of the leading jurisdictions for online gaming companies. With its stable political climate, robust infrastructure, and favorable tax incentives, Curaçao offers a viable and lucrative option for entrepreneurs and investors in the iGaming industry.

We are able to advise and assist you through the process of setting up a gaming company in Curaçao. The services we offer include:

  • Establishing gaming companies in Curaçao, which is one of the main requirements to obtain a gaming license on the island;
  • Obtaining a gaming license in an efficient and compliant manner;
  • Offering the required Key Function position. During the licensing process, the prospective licensee must appoint a Compliance Officer whose role is to ensure that the Operator complies with all relevant laws and adopts the necessary AML and CFT measures.

want more information? Our Chief Client Officer, Dr. Deborah Vella will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Deborah@ellulschranz.com 

Below we provide a more comprehensive guide on establishing and operating a gaming company in Curaçao.


Why Choose Curaçao?

Curaçao offers a number of advantages for gaming companies:

  • Cost-Effective Licenses: Compared to other jurisdictions, Curaçao’s licensing fees are relatively low.
  • Quick Approval Process: The streamlined application process can take as little as 2-4 weeks.
  • Favorable Tax Rates: Enjoy a competitive corporate tax rate, as low as 2% for e-gaming companies.
  • Political Stability: As a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao enjoys political and economic stability.

Legal Framework

The main regulatory body governing gaming activities in Curaçao is the Curaçao eGaming Commission. The legal framework is designed to be flexible while ensuring the integrity and transparency of gaming operations.


Types of Gaming Licenses

Curaçao offers a “one-size-fits-all” eGaming license which covers all types of gaming activities, including:

  • Online casinos
  • Sports betting
  • Lotteries
  • Poker rooms
  • Bingo, and more

Application Process

  1. Due Diligence: The initial step involves thorough background checks on the company and its directors.
  2. Business Plan: Applicants must submit a detailed business plan outlining their operational strategy.
  3. Technical Assessment: Software and games undergo rigorous testing for fairness and reliability.

Tax Benefits

  • Corporate Tax: A highly competitive rate of 2% on net profits.
  • No Sales Tax or VAT: Gaming transactions are generally exempt from sales tax and VAT.
  • No Dividend Taxes: Dividends paid to non-residents are not subject to withholding tax.

Technical Requirements

Gaming companies are required to host their servers in Curaçao as part of the licensing agreement. This ensures compliance and allows for regular audits by the regulatory authority.


Compliance and Regulation

Curaçao has a robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policy in place. Regular audits are conducted to ensure compliance with international standards.


Conclusion

Setting up a gaming company in Curaçao offers several advantages, including favorable tax conditions, a straightforward licensing process, and robust regulatory oversight. It remains one of the most attractive jurisdictions for online gaming operations.

For further information, feel free to contact our team of experts who can guide you through every step of the process. Info@ellulschranz.com 

Learn More

Contact our Chief Client Officer Deborah Vella on LinkedIn, email us for further information info@ellulschranz.com or leave us a message below.

Facts on Curacao

Curaçao is known for its favorable business climate, making it an attractive destination for various types of companies, particularly in sectors like online gaming, finance, and shipping. Below are some key facts about companies in Curaçao:

General Facts

  1. Jurisdiction: Curaçao is a Caribbean island that is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  2. Political Stability: Being part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands lends Curaçao a high degree of political and economic stability.
  3. Official Languages: While Dutch is the official language, English and Spanish are widely spoken, making it easier for international businesses to operate.

Financial Sector

  1. E-zone Companies: Curaçao offers a special economic zone, known as an E-zone, where certain types of international businesses can benefit from reduced tax rates.
  2. Tax Benefits: Companies in Curaçao often benefit from a lower effective tax rate, which can go as low as 2% for certain businesses such as eGaming companies.
  3. No Exchange Controls: Curaçao has no exchange controls, allowing for the free movement of funds.

Online Gaming

  1. One-Size-Fits-All License: The island offers a comprehensive eGaming license that covers all types of online gambling, including casinos, sports betting, and lotteries.
  2. Regulatory Body: The Curaçao eGaming Commission is the primary regulatory authority overseeing online gaming.

Shipping and Trade

  1. Ship Registry: Curaçao maintains a reputable international ship registry and offers incentives for ships operating under its flag.
  2. Free Trade Zones: There are several free trade zones that facilitate import and re-export without the normal customs duties or taxes.

Legal System

  1. Civil Law System: Curaçao operates under a Civil Law system, influenced by Dutch law.
  2. Corporate Structures: Curaçao allows for various types of corporate structures, including NV (Public Limited Company) and BV (Private Limited Company).

Compliance and Transparency

  1. AML and KYC: The country has stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations in place.
  2. Data Protection: Curaçao has regulations to protect data and digital information, making it a secure option for businesses dealing with sensitive information.

Intellectual Property

  1. IP Benefits: Intellectual property rights are recognized and protected, making it beneficial for tech companies and innovators.

Tourism and Hospitality

  1. Tourism-Driven Economy: The island is a popular tourist destination, making the hospitality industry one of the key sectors.

Technology and Infrastructure

  1. Strong Connectivity: The island offers strong internet connectivity, essential for businesses operating in the digital realm.
  2. Time Zone: Curaçao is in the Atlantic Standard Time zone, which is convenient for doing business with both North and South America.

Market Access

  1. US Relations: Curaçao has preferential trade agreements with the United States, facilitating easier access to the U.S. market.
  2. Strategic Location: Its location near the Venezuelan coast and proximity to major shipping routes make it a strategic point for trade and business.

These facts illustrate why Curaçao is considered an attractive option for various types of businesses looking for a stable, business-friendly environment.

Benefits of Having a Curaçao Gaming License

Obtaining a gaming license from Curaçao offers multiple advantages, making it one of the more popular jurisdictions for online gaming companies. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Simplified Licensing Process

  • One-Size-Fits-All: Curaçao provides a comprehensive eGaming license that covers all types of online gaming activities, including casinos, sports betting, lotteries, poker rooms, and more.
  • Quick Approval: The licensing process is relatively fast, often taking as little as 2-4 weeks to complete.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

  • Affordable Fees: Compared to other jurisdictions, the initial setup and annual costs for Curaçao gaming licenses are more affordable.
  • Low Operational Costs: Running a business in Curaçao can be more cost-effective due to a favorable local economy and lower overheads.

3. Favorable Tax Climate

  • Low Corporate Tax: Curaçao offers competitive corporate tax rates, as low as 2% for eGaming companies, making it financially advantageous to operate there.
  • No Dividend Taxes: Dividends paid to non-residents are not subject to withholding tax.
  • No VAT/Sales Tax: Gaming transactions are generally exempt from Value-Added Tax (VAT) and sales tax.

4. Robust Regulatory Framework

  • Reputable Authority: The Curaçao eGaming Commission is known for its stringent regulations that focus on fairness, transparency, and data security.
  • Global Reach: A Curaçao license is globally recognized and allows companies to operate in various international markets, although there are some restricted countries.

5. Operational Flexibility

  • No Exchange Controls: Curaçao has no restrictions on the movement of capital, allowing for seamless international transactions.
  • Multiple Currencies: A Curaçao license permits transactions in multiple currencies, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

6. Political and Economic Stability

  • Kingdom of the Netherlands: Being part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao enjoys a stable political and economic environment, which is appealing to investors.

7. Technical Infrastructure

  • High Connectivity: The island has robust technical infrastructure with high-speed internet, essential for maintaining a smooth online gaming experience.
  • Data Centers: Curaçao offers world-class data centers that meet the demands of online gaming companies.

8. Strong Compliance and Security

  • AML and KYC Guidelines: Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies are robust, in line with international standards.

9. Intellectual Property Protection

  • Robust IP Laws: Intellectual property, including gaming software and customer databases, is well-protected under Curaçao law.

10. Strategic Location

  • Atlantic Time Zone: Curaçao’s time zone makes it convenient for doing business with both North and South America.
  • Accessibility: Being well-connected by air and sea, Curaçao is easily accessible for business travel.

Given these benefits, it’s not surprising that a Curaçao gaming license is one of the more sought-after licenses for online gaming operators worldwide.

  • Process of Obtaining a Curaçao Gaming License

    Acquiring a Curaçao gaming license involves a multi-step process that requires careful planning and adherence to legal requirements. Below is a simplified guide detailing the key stages:


    Step 1: Preliminary Research and Planning

    1. Formulate a Business Plan: Prepare a detailed business plan that outlines the operational, financial, and marketing strategies for the gaming venture.

    Step 2: Company Formation

    1. Register a Company: You’ll need to form a legal entity in Curaçao or another recognized jurisdiction.
    2. Open a Bank Account: Open a corporate bank account to manage the company’s finances.

    Step 3: Application Preparation

    1. Compile Documentation: Prepare all necessary documentation, including business plans, identification documents, financial statements, and software certification.
    2. Due Diligence Checks: Complete all required due diligence forms for shareholders, directors, and officers of the company.
    3. Pay Application Fees: Submit the application fees, which vary depending on the type of license and other factors.

    Step 4: Submission and Review

    1. Submit Application: Submit the application and all required documents to the Curaçao eGaming Commission or the respective authority.
    2. Review Process: The application will undergo a thorough review, including background checks and assessment of financial stability.
    3. Technical Evaluation: The gaming software will be tested for fairness and reliability.

    Step 5: Licensing

    1. Approval: If the application meets all criteria, the license will be granted.
    2. Pay Licensing Fees: Pay the initial license fees and any other costs associated with obtaining the license.

    Step 6: Operational Setup

    1. Hosting Requirements: As part of the licensing agreement, you may need to host your servers in Curaçao, depending on the specifics of your license.
    2. Operational Compliance: Ensure all operations comply with license conditions, including Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies.

    Step 7: Ongoing Compliance and Renewal

    1. Annual Reports: Submit annual financial reports for review.
    2. License Renewal: Ensure timely renewal of the license, usually on an annual or bi-annual basis, depending on the terms.
    3. Ongoing Compliance: Adhere to any updated regulations or compliance requirements.

    Note:

    The process described above is simplified and should not replace professional legal advice. Requirements may change over time and may vary based on the specific nature of your gaming venture.

    By adhering to these steps and working closely with legal and financial advisors, you can navigate the process of obtaining a Curaçao gaming license more effectively

Corporate Tax Rate

  1. Favorable Rates: Curaçao generally offers a corporate tax rate of around 22%. However, certain e-zone companies involved in international e-commerce activities (including gaming) can benefit from a reduced tax rate, sometimes as low as 2%.

Income and Withholding Taxes

  1. No Withholding Taxes on Dividends: Generally, there is no withholding tax on dividends distributed to non-resident shareholders.
  2. No Withholding Tax on Interest and Royalties: Curaçao typically does not levy withholding tax on interest and royalty payments made to non-residents.

Indirect Taxes

  1. No Value-Added Tax (VAT): Gaming transactions are often exempt from VAT.
  2. Import Duties: Reduced import duties may apply to goods imported into special economic zones.

Special Economic Zones (E-Zones)

  1. E-Zone Benefits: Companies established in an e-zone can benefit from various tax advantages, including a reduced profit tax rate.

Anti-Money Laundering Regulations

  1. AML Compliance: While not a tax, compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations is mandatory and can have financial implications.

Reporting and Administration

  1. Financial Statements: Companies must submit annual financial statements for taxation assessment.
  2. Annual Audit: Depending on the size and nature of the company, an annual audit may be required.

International Considerations

  1. Foreign Tax Compliance: Companies operating in multiple countries may need to consider tax treaties and international tax compliance, including reporting requirements in countries where they have significant players.
  2. Transfer Pricing: Transactions between the Curaçao company and affiliated companies in other jurisdictions must be conducted at arm’s length, and proper documentation is often required to substantiate the pricing methods.

Exit Taxes

  1. Emigration Tax: If the company is liquidated or moved from Curaçao, an emigration tax may be applicable.

Renewal and Ongoing Fees

  1. License Renewal Fees: Ongoing license renewal fees, which may be considered an operational cost, are not tax-deductible.

Personal Income Tax

  1. Directors and Employees: Individuals residing in Curaçao may be subject to personal income tax on their earnings, depending on various factors including tax residency.

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E&S can be considered as a one-stop shop services provider especially for start-ups. I will not hesitate to recommend E&S to others who want to use the professional services they offer due to their service oriented, and high level of professionalism."

Michael Gatt – Global Gaming Group (CFO)

"I always feel at ease when E&S’s legal team answers our Human Resource questions from the perspective of the company. They are not only very responsive to any questions, but also extremely patient. E&S are aware of the requirements of our organisation and, if they foresees any issues, advises us accordingly. I wholeheartedly recommend E&S Group to my other co-workers with particular reference to Dr Anthea and Dr Jade who are very reliable to handle inquiries."

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