Curaçao is one of the world's leading centres for online casinos, iGaming and digital betting. The Caribbean Island is part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, but holds a semi-autonomous status, and is not subject to Dutch and EU regulations. Around 155,000 people call Curaçao home, and it is also a domicile for thousands of gaming companies from around the world who are drawn by its history in egaming and low taxes.
So, how important is online gaming to Curaçao’s economy, and what draws online casinos, sportsbooks and other gaming firms to the island? We have compiled a list of essential Curaçao online gambling statistics to paint a picture of the Dutch-speaking island’s approach to gaming.
Overview of online casino and iGaming in Curaçao
Curaçao was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to legalise online gaming with its 1996 regulations. The licence covers all games of chance - including casinos, sports betting and almost any other kind of gambling.
Curaçao gambling businesses can accept payment in fiat currencies, as well as crypto. With a Curaçao gambling licence, you can offer online gaming to customers from most countries on Earth, other then, in most cases, those with local licences. This includes Netherlands, France, the US and the UK, but also many more.
The approach to licencing gambling businesses in Curaçao is somewhat peculiar. There are five companies that have an online gaming licence in the country. These businesses are then allowed to provide sublicenses to other companies. Beneath the four full license holders, it is estimated that there are around 5,000 sub licence holders. These sub licence holders are often responsible for more than one online casino or betting website.
Curaçao’s gaming authority does not produce statistics on gambling revenue. However, reports indicate that the island’s gaming licences generate between 1.4 and 3 billion Guilders per year. This is between EUR 700 million and EUR 1.5 billion and could represent up to half of the island nation’s GDP (~EUR 3 billion).
Curaçao share of global online gaming
Curaçao holds a major position in the world’s online gaming industry. Reports suggest that around 40% of all online gaming licences are registered in the Caribbean island.
Because reporting on online gambling companies in the jurisdiction is fairly limited, it is difficult to estimate exactly how many iGaming businesses are operating there. But it is believed that there are at least 12,000 online casinos, sportsbooks and betting websites operating through Curaçao (many of these will be run by the same company).
Curaçao gaming licence cost
As of early 2022, the cost of applying for a Curaçao gaming licence has risen significantly thanks to during the COVID-19 pandemic, the island's revenues were hit significantly and it needed support from the Dutch government.
In return for financial aid, Amsterdam enforced new standards and fees for online gaming licences in Curaçao.
The price of applying for a master licence will increase to around EUR 113,000 – some EUR 31,000 more than previously. It is not yet clear how this will affect fees for sublicense holders, but they are expected to rise in line with costs for the four main license holders.
Each sub licence holder will pay different amounts for their Curaçao online gaming licence depending on their size and the type of business their run. But the annual licensee normally costs around EUR 22,000, and must be renewed after two years.
The application process for a Curaçao online gaming license normally takes around 6 weeks to complete.
Tax for online gambling businesses in Curaçao
One of the main reasons that Curaçao has been so successful in attracting iGaming businesses is its low tax rate. For firms that set up with an e-licence:
· The tax rate is just 2% on net gains from all online gaming activities
· They do not have to pay VAT
· There is also no tax on corporate profits
Land-based casino sector in Curaçao
Besides online gambling, Curaçao is also home to 11 land-based casinos, all of which are located in hotels in Willemstad, the island’s capital. The minimum age for gaming in Curaçao is 18.
The opportunity to gamble at a casino is a big part of the draw for tourists visiting the island – gambling is responsible for up to one third of Curaçao’s tourism earnings.
Payment accounts for iGaming businesses in Curaçao
If you are looking to set up an iGaming business, an online casino, betting site or a sportsbook in Curaçao, you will need a way to accept payments from customer accounts.
Although obtaining a payment account for a Curacao casino is notoriously difficult, some providers will still consider the jurisdiction.
To learn more, read about our payment accounts here.