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Obtaining a business license in Curacao in 2023

Obtaining a business license in Curacao in 2023
1 Jan 2023
Curacao is one of the most popular jurisdictions for launching online business. Most companies prefer to start their journey in the gaming industry from here. Many stay with this jurisdiction as their final one. In this article, we will talk about the main characteristics of this jurisdiction and some of the nuances of obtaining a license.
Why choose Curacao for starting a business?
Curacao is the crown territory of the Netherlands, but it has a separate legal and political system and is a separate full-fledged state. Curacao is the most popular choice among the gaming business due to its soft legislation, fairly simple requirements for businesses and shareholders, the speed of starting a business, and ease of operation. We also note the loyal attitude in the case of the provision of services by operators in various “complex” jurisdictions.
Requirements for obtaining a Curacao license?
Four master licensees in Curacao have the right to issue licenses.

  • Cyberluck Curacao N.V. (Curaçao-eGaming) #1668/JAZ;
  • Gaming Curaçao (GC) #365/JAZ;
  • Curacao Interactive Licensing N.V. (CIL) #5536/JAZ;
  • Antillephone NV #8048/JAZ.
Each of the master licensees has its specific requirements for operators. The basic requirements are the presence of a company in Curacao, the presence of a local director or a proxy holder, and that's it. The term for obtaining a license is approximately one to one and a half months, taking into account the following factors: the creation of a company, the preparation of all necessary public documents, agreements with the platform, if you have a white-label solution, or if your platform is certified/audited and agreements with gaming and payment providers.

To obtain a license, a business will need to pass a standard check. The necessary documents are provided for the company, as well as for the beneficiary: the source of their income, the domain, the platform, and the games. Some master licensees also interview the beneficiary and may require information about people in key positions.

One of the strictest licensees is CEG, they have also already introduced requirements for the audit of the company and all procedures are carried out very carefully with all checks. Their license certificate is updated every 3 months. The remaining master licensees are currently more loyal to their clients.
Options for structuring a business in Curacao
Most often, such a business operates with the following structure: a Curacao company is created, in which there can be a shareholder/beneficiary resident of any country. Further, a subsidiary company is opened, which will act as a paying agent for a Curacao company in one of the European countries.

One of the most popular jurisdictions is Cyprus, but the UK can also be used, some use Hungary or other countries. It is also possible to make these two structures unrelated to each other and the EU company operates based on an agency agreement only, but this model is often not liked by PSP (acquiring systems).
The process of obtaining a business license in Curacao
The following components are necessary for the functioning of a gaming business:

  1. corporate structure
  2. availability of a license;
  3. the existence of agreements with game providers;
  4. availability of agreements with PSP payment systems;
  5. availability of open settlement accounts in banks or EMI.
The standard process is as follows: first, the Curacao company obtains a license. After obtaining a license, a paying agent, a Cypriot company, which is a subsidiary, signs all the necessary agreements with PSP payment systems and also opens a current account to which money will be paid.

A Curacao company also usually opens one current account. Since it is much more difficult for a company to work with Curacao and opening accounts is a much more complicated process, one account will often be enough.

PSPs do not usually work with a Curacao company, but require a European structure. An agency agreement is usually prepared between the Curacao company and the Cyprus company, according to which the agency company has the right to receive money instead of the Curacao company, as well as pay for the services of various partners and other providers.

It is desirable to transfer some part of the money to Curacao anyway so that the necessary business model is observed. The Cypriot company, using various PSP systems, accepts money from users, accumulates it on PSP systems accounts, and then withdraws it to their current accounts.
Restrictions for doing business in Curacao
Under the laws of Curacao and according to your agreement with the master licensee, the usually prohibited countries for operating are the United States, the Netherlands, all FATF-sanctioned countries, and maybe France. Also, it is usually mentioned that it is better not to work in countries with local regulations and a local license.

However, operators usually work in countries with local licenses because Curacao and the master licensee don’t apply heavy pressure. The main risks that a company can be facing come exclusively from the side of the country where activities are prohibited. This may be the blocking of the company's domains, or litigation against companies. Potentially, the shareholder may also have problems with this country. So you need to be careful with your operations.

About the author
Contact the author:
Vladyslav Yarovoi acts as a managing partner at the esteemed Rikk law firm. With his Master of Law and expertise in a high-risk business, Vladyslav has become an authority on providing legal support for IT businesses; from ensuring their successful launch to making sure they are ready for IPO.
Vladyslav Yarovoi

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