Gambling Webhosting and Licensing

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

E-Zone companies and Gambling in Curacao

I have been asked on a number of occasions how to set up and structure a gambling business in Curacao so I thought I would write a general guide so that readers can understand what it is all about, and what it will cost.

EDIT: I have updated this article to be inline with 2016 costs.

Gambling businesses operating from Curacao will in general, setup an E-Zone company which will in turn be plugged into a local trust or foundation or foreign entity. The purpose of this structure is to obtain the affordable Curacao Gambling license.

E-Zone company:
An e-zone company is a company that operates from one of the two economic zones in Curacao in order to benefit from preferred tax rate for an e-zone company is 2%. In essence your business is run from International Departures.

From the chamber of commerce:
As of March 1, 2001 the e-zone legislation entered into force. The main purpose of the e-zone legislation is to expand and strengthen the economic position of Curacao (formerly the Netherlands Antilles). The e-zone legislation provides potential (e-commerce) investors a variety of (tax saving) opportunities (NOTE: It is NOT a tax haven and tax rates may increase over time). The e-zone legislation is not only aimed at e-commerce, it is also a continuation of the former free zone legislation.
There are currently two active free zones, one in the harbor, and one at the airport. One of the best characteristics of Curaçao’s Free Zones happens to be the quality of the infrastructure. Curaçao’s infrastructure is one of the best in the entire Caribbean region. The extensive road networks are well designed and maintained.
Modern telecommunication facilities provide direct and reliable contact with every country in the world. The processing of all types of freight as well as the air and sea logistic connections is very well organized. Furthermore, the special incentives make it very appealing for businesses to operate in any of the Curaçao Free Trade Zones of their choice.
On goods imported into the free trade zone no import duties are required. Annually at least 75% of total sales has to be exported, while up to 25% of total sales may be sold on the domestic market after obtaining a permit from the Government. Routine customs formalities related to import and export are free of charge during regular office hours, while other administrative matters are reduced to a minimum.

The setup fee for your new e-zone company will vary from provider to provider but a good ball park figure is anything between: €4000 - €6000 EUR. Note that many providers from 2015/2016 have stopped transacting in USD due to the US government arbitrarily closing down US based accounts.

This generally includes:
  • Notorial fees
  • Chamber of commerce fee
  • Foreign exchange permit
  • Business and director license
  • Bank account
  • E-Zone application
  • Set up file
Annual management fee: €7000 - €1000

The annual management fee will depend on what you negotiate, in the early days it was possible to negotiate fixed yearly costs however in general companies are now charged monthly fees which are administration based and could be anything from €500 - €2000 per month (depending on your company requirements and structure).

E-gaming license: From $4800 USD (for two URL's)

The E-Gaming license cost is not as straightforward as one would hope it to be. There are three license providers on the island and each has their own set of rules which brings the realised cost of the license to approximately: €12000 per annum.

The cheaper license offered for instance obliges you to take out hosting at the local DC and this can start at $1000 per month for rackspace and bandwidth. While the more expensive license is offered at a much higher rate and you can host where ever you like. Essentially they come in at the same cost.

E-Zone license: From €2000 USD

This is a yearly fee for running your business from the economic zone.

Other fees:
  • Book keeping
  • Bank account setup 
Hourly rates will vary from: €125 - €500

Realistic yearly costs:
A good budget would be around €40,000 per annum. This is for the one man band or thrifty operator who knows how to manage/aggregate his or her expenses.

Our Experience:
We have worked from a number of Jurisdictions over the years (BVI / Isle of Man etc.) and have been operating from Curacao now for 10 years. In our opinion, there is no "cheep" jurisdiction if you wish to run a gaming business, but there are jurisdictions that appear to be following a path that will lead to greater opportunities. We believe Curacao has the potential to become the most balanced jurisdiction meeting the needs of both operator, game providers and regulators and this is why we have invested time, effort and resources into Curacao.

Curacao, in our opinion, is 10/10.

If you require investment for your new gambling business, have a read of this article.

Want to get in touch? Contact us via our support desk!


Want to start your own casino?

To offer a casino from Curacao you will need:

1. A reliable trust/management company
2. A license
3. Servers
4. And games to offer your audience

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