Curaçao’s Finance Minister Defends First Direct Gambling License

Javier Silvania, the Minister of Finance for Curaçao, recently addressed concerns surrounding the issuance of the first direct license to  to White Star BV, a key entity under the Rhino Entertainment Group, a move that has sparked debate amidst ongoing discussions about the territory’s new gambling legislation, the National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK). The LOK aims to enhance the regulatory framework and standards of the gambling industry through a more direct and stringent licensing process.

Despite facing criticism from various quarters, including members of parliament, the Curaçao Bar Association, and the Advisory Council, for moving ahead with the license before the new law’s formal adoption, Silvania stands by the decision. He asserts that the license aligns with the existing 1993 Offshore Gambling Ordinance (LBH), which remains in effect until potentially superseded by the LOK.

The push for the LOK comes in response to calls for better regulation and oversight within the gambling sector to prevent fraud and criminal activities. The new law would enable the territory to exercise direct supervision over licensees, a significant shift from the current system where six master license holders issue sub-licenses, leading to challenges in regulatory enforcement.

Silvania highlighted that the adjustments to the LOK, prompted by feedback from various stakeholders, aim to address these concerns and strengthen confidence in Curaçao’s gambling industry. The introduction of direct licensing through the LOK is seen as a critical step towards achieving these goals, providing the Gambling Control Board with the tools needed for effective oversight.

As discussions continue and amendments are made to the LOK, the decision to grant a direct license to Rhino Entertainment Group underlines Curaçao’s commitment to evolving its gambling regulatory framework. This move, according to Silvania, is a step in the right direction, ensuring that the island’s gambling industry can thrive in a well-regulated and secure environment.

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