Online gambling jurisdictions exploit curaçao's loss of unique selling point

WILLEMSTAD - Considering Curaçao's imminent shift to the Landsverordening op de Kansspelen (LOK), several gambling jurisdictions, including Costa Rica, Kahnawake, and Anjouan, are eyeing the opportunity to capitalize on the situation. The disclosure came during a meeting of trust sector professionals, where it was revealed that rival nations are actively courting online casinos currently operating under sublicense in Curaçao. 

Glen Rellum from the Curaçao trust office Decc voiced concerns about the changing gambling landscape, stating, "There are 'pirates on the gaming coast.' There are countries hoping to expand their online gambling market now that Curaçao will transition to the Landsverordening op de Kansspelen (LOK)." Rellum expressed his lack of support for the impending gambling law, predicting a significant exodus of sublicense holders from Curaçao. He estimates that around 400 of the current 1,000 sublicense holders may defect to other gambling jurisdictions. 

Competition from Anjouan, Isle of Man, and Kahnawake 

Other nations are reportedly keen to exploit the current uncertainty facing Curaçaoan providers. Rellum identified Anjouan, Isle of Man, Costa Rica, and Kahnawake as prominent competitors. 

Anjouan, situated in the Indian Ocean and part of the Comoros, has swiftly positioned itself as a gambling jurisdiction, benefitting from minimal local requirements, a stark contrast to the impending LOK's stringent provisions, such as mandating providers to be based in Curaçao. 

Costa Rica and Kahnawake are gaining traction among online casinos, with several entities already making the switch from a Curaçao sublicense to a Kahnawake license. The Isle of Man, a long-standing gambling jurisdiction, seeks to capitalize on the gap created by the LOK. Rellum mentioned that the Isle of Man and Anjouan are actively enticing providers with messages like, 'The Curaçao gambling sector is uncertain, so come to us for a license.' 

Concerns Over Unique Selling Point 

Rellum emphasized the need to take the competition seriously, warning that Curaçao stands to lose its unique selling point with the introduction of the Landsverordening op de Kansspelen. The island's attractiveness currently lies in its low licensing costs, a feature that would significantly increase under the LOK, according to previous arguments by the trust sector. Rellum reiterated that the costs for sublicense holders could quintuple, soaring from 22,500 guilders to 120,000 guilders. 

Competitors like Malta, with the ability to charge higher licensing fees, benefit from being part of the European Union, allowing for the offering of European bank accounts and streamlined financial transactions. Another formidable competitor, the Isle of Man, is recognized for its rigorous controls, instilling trust among gambling companies. 

Curaçao, faced with these formidable challenges, is urged by Rellum to concentrate on its strengths to maintain its standing in the online gambling industry. 

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