Ciga provides insight into online gaming on Curacao

WILLEMSTAD - The Curaçao Internet Gaming Association, "CIGA", is an interest group of parties working in the online gaming sector in Curaçao. The membership base of CIGA includes master license holders, providers of online gaming via the Internet, trust companies and lawyers.

The BBC broadcasted a radio documentary, "How gambling interests bought a country", on August 7, 2019, concerning the online gaming activities from Curaçao.

The documentary turned out to be largely based on unsubstantiated and unverified assumptions, and incorrect facts were presented in the broadcast. It was assumed, for example, that online gaming providers are not adequately supervised via the Internet and that master licensees are granting licenses unlawfully.

It was also concluded that there are no measures against money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities. Online gaming was also associated with corruption and the extremely regrettable and sad murder of Helmin Wiels.

The BBC claimed that the Curaçao politicians who were recently convicted of corruption or suspected of being involved in murder, would be connected to the online gaming sector. It had been easy for the BBC to verify this assumption with the Public Prosecution Service (OM). The OM can confirm that such a connection has not been established or discussed in any of the legal cases and investigations.

Furthermore, the BBC claimed that Curaçao has little or no access to the necessary legislation and regulations that ensure the protection of the player, in particular vulnerable groups such as minors, the fight against illegality and crime, in particular the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism. The integrity and transparent management of service providers would also fall short.

CIGA members are subjected to:

- National ordinance Identification for financial services (NG 1996, no. 23) as last amended by NG 2015, no. 69 (NG 2017, no. 92) (NOIS)

- National Ordinance on Reporting Unusual Transactions (NG 1996, no. 21) as last amended by NG 2015, no. 68 (NG 2017, no. 99) (NORUT)

- National Ordinance on offshore hazard games (NG 1993, no 63)

- Financial Action Force Laws maintained by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Curaçao (FIU)

- National Ordinance Protection Personal Data 2013

- National Ordinance Supervision Trust Industry 2004 (NOST)

- The policy rules regarding reliability, integrity in general and in the event of incidents as imposed by the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS)

Enforcement is carried out by the various institutes in Curaçao such as the Ministry of Justice, the Financial Intelligence Unit as the local FATF implementer and member of the so-called Egmont Group and of course the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten.

Furthermore, as an autonomous country within the kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao has a well-functioning case law whereby the decisions of reliable local judges can ultimately be submitted to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.

CIGA acknowledges that there are cases where customers of online gaming companies have complaints. Players are free to complain to the provider himself, his representative in Curaçao and the master license holder. CIGA also recognizes cases where minors have found their way to a gambling website, an existing problem that also occurs in other gaming jurisdictions such as Malta, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

CIGA supports and contributes to all initiatives to prevent this problem and also to innovate and permanently adapt the legislation and the supervision framework, possibly with the Gaming Control Board of Curaçao (GCB) as designated supervisor. To date, however, the GCB only regulates physical providers of gambling and gambling established on the island.

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