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Curaçao Betting Sites

There are hundreds of options to choose from when selecting the best online betting site for you. More and more punters are finding that Curacao licenced sites are a great choice, with lots of advantages over their conventionally registered rivals. However, although there certainly are advantages to using sports betting sites which are licenced and registered on Curacao, there are some downsides too. But first…

Where is Curacao, and what is a Curacao Gaming Licence?

Curacao is a Caribbean island, situated just off South America around forty miles north of Venezuela. It is administered by the government of The Netherlands. Curacao and its neighbouring islands are sometimes referred to as the Dutch Caribbean.

A Curacao gaming licence is simply an alternative licencing authority, issued by the Dutch administered government of Curacao. Such licences are not necessarily approved by other national governments. Every national government has its own policy.

Most sports betting brands choose to be licenced and registered either with gambling regulators appointed by their national government, or possibly with an external body which is also government approved. In the United Kingdom and Europe, most national governments operate their own regulatory authority, but also allow licences with alternative but approved external authorities.

This means that, for example, in Ireland, betting sites licenced in Curacao do not fall under the jurisdiction of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).  Most other EU and European governments do not recognise Curacao as a valid licencing authority either.

In the UK, all betting brands licenced to operate within the country are regulated by the UKGC, although the actual licence can be held at a number of alternative approved licencing authorities. These include the Isle of Man; UK Channel Islands such as Alderney; UK overseas territories such as Gibraltar and the Mediterranean island of Malta. These territories are also generally accepted by EU national governments, although this could change in the longer term because of Brexit.

In the United States, online betting regulations are generally much stricter than in Europe. Another difference is that in Europe, national governments are typically responsible for regulating online betting. In the US, each individual state is responsible for deciding on its own rules, rather than the federal government in Washington.

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    Advantages of Curacao betting sites

    Advantages for operators

    • One major advantage for operators is that a Curacao gaming licence is generally much cheaper to obtain than many of the alternatives. At the time of writing, a full Curacao licence can be arranged for around €20,000, which is a considerable saving.
    • Another clear advantage for online betting operators is that the territory of Curacao is a low tax jurisdiction. Here however, the advantage is likely to be marginal at best, as almost all territories commonly used for gaming licencing purposes are regarded as ‘tax havens’.

    Advantages for Punters

    There are many potential advantages for punters when deciding to bet with a Curacao licenced brand.

    • Lighter Regulation – Betting sites licenced via Curacao tend to face less strict regulatory controls than with many other licencing territories. This can have several potential advantages for their customers.
    • Lower Taxes – Winnings on conventionally licenced betting sites in many national jurisdictions are subject to government imposed taxes. These do not apply on Curacao licenced brands.
    • Better Bonuses and Promotions – Many government-approved licencing authorities ban special promotions and offers such as free and bonus bets. These are prohibited as a means of discouraging people from online betting, and restricting the potential for problem gambling. Curacao-licenced sites do not have to abide by these rules, so they are able to offer their customers such promotions.
    • Fewer Restrictions on Bets – Many national government official regulators place limits on bets and deposits. These kinds of limits do not apply to Curacao licenced online betting brands.
    • Quicker Registration Process – Conventionally licenced betting sites are all obliged to carry out stringent checks on new customers. These are commonly known as ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) checks, designed to prevent fraud and restrict the potential for criminal money laundering. In practice, these can slow down the initial registration and winnings withdrawal processes considerably.  There is no way for conventionally licenced online betting operators to avoid these checks – they are legally required. Such checks will generally include the need to provide proof of identity, such as photographic evidence of a passport or driving licence; and proof of address, such a photograph of a recent utility bill containing your address.  Curacao licenced betting sites do not generally have to ask for this evidence, so the registration process (and the withdrawal process when you claim your winnings) may be swifter.
    • Alternative Payment Options – Curacao licenced online betting brands are often able to offer payment options which would not be allowed on conventionally licenced sites. National government-approved regulators frequently ban the use of credit cards top make payments for online betting, for example. Many Curacao licenced titles do still accept credit payments, making them an attractive option for many potential players.  Another attractive payment option which can often be found on Curacao licenced sites is the ability to pay by Bitcoin. Other cryptocurrency payments can also be found, but Bitcoin is the most widely accepted. Conventional government licenced sites cannot accept Bitcoin, because the relative anonymity available as a feature of the payment do not comply with the necessary KYC checks.
    • Customer Anonymity – The lack of KYC checks outlined above means that players on Curacao licenced sites can experience a greater degree of anonymity than on conventionally licenced online betting brands. There are limits to this though. The withdrawal process could still involve some potential for identification, especially if you choose to pay by credit card. Bitcoin is the best payment option for those who require maximum discretion.
    • Better Odds – This advantage is by no means guaranteed, but it is certainly possible to find more competitive odds when placing bets with Curacao licenced sites. This is possible for several reasons. Firstly, lower taxes may mean that there is more room for the online operator to offer a greater margin. However, no self-respecting punter would ever rely on the generosity of a bookmaker, so don’t count on it!  Secondly, Curacao may be a relatively low-cost jurisdiction when compared with other, more glamorous locations such as Gibraltar and Malta. The initial licence itself is likely to be cheaper, for a start. Plus there is the fact that such places are also regarded as tax havens, which means that they attract lots of rich people. Rich people can afford higher prices, so the cost of living and business overheads in these locations will also be high. If online betting sites operating from Curacao face lower costs, it is possible that these savings could be passed on in more generous margins. Again, don’t hold your breath though.  Yet there is a way that in fact it is more than likely that you could find better odds on an internationally operating betting brand like those licenced on Curacao. This is because bookmakers have to set their odds based not only on the likelihood of an event happening, but also on the cost to them if it does.  Let’s say you live in France and you want to place a bet on France winning the football World Cup. A sensible bookmaker will look at the likelihood of this happening and may well set what they consider to be fair odds. Let’s say it’s 12 / 1. However, people tend to have an over-optimistic attitude to their own country’s prospects. This means that millions of patriotic French people may take up that offer, meaning that if France is victorious, the bookies will lose a fortune. Therefore, a sensible and cautious French bookmaker is likely to reduce the offer to, say 10 / 1 to hedge against this happening. In these circumstances, it is perfectly possible that a Curacao based bookie (where the patriotic sentiment is more likely to favour the prospects of Holland or a South American nation such as Argentina or Brazil) could afford to offer better odds on France to attract more bets.
    • Greater Variety of Sports – Internationally based betting sites can be more likely to offer a wider range of sports and events to bet on. Of course, every brand is likely to offer all the major world sports, such as football (soccer in the US), horse racing, tennis, Formula 1 motor racing and so on. Punters keen on sports more popular in North America such as American football, basketball and ice hockey will also always be well catered for.  International betting sites such as those licenced in Curacao can be more likely to offer niche, more obscure sports. So if you are a follower of Scandinavian reindeer racing or Guatemalan tiddlywinks (the first definitely exists; I can’t make any promises about the second), you are more likely to be able to find a site for you amongst the many licenced on Curacao.  You are also more likely to be able to bet on sport in other countries than if you choose a conventional sports betting portal. So if Ecuadorian football or Bangladeshi local league cricket is your thing, there could be a Curacao licenced specialist for you.

    Disadvantages of Curacao betting sites

    Many of the disadvantages of betting with a Curacao licenced site are the downside of the advantages:

    • Lighter Regulation – Whilst lighter touch regulation has advantages, it does have some disadvantages too.
    • Lack of Consumer Protection – Curacao is not the most stringent licencing authority when it comes to backing consumer rights. If you should find yourself in dispute with an online betting site, you are unlikely to get much protection from Curacao’s licencing authorities. European regulators and the UK Gambling Commission in particular, are renowned for protecting its consumers. The UKGC regularly impose multi-million pound fines on companies which breach their licencing conditions.
    • Lack of Customer Support – Few Curacao licenced sites offer much in the way of Customer Service facilities. Those that exist are likely to be e-mail only, with little or no telephone support. Any telephone helplines are also likely to be based overseas, which is likely to lead to expensive calls. Conventionally licenced betting sites often offer Freephone helplines. Even if this is not the case, calls made within any country can usually be included as part of a mobile contract’s inclusive call package, so these too are effectively free.
    • No Protection for Problem Gamblers – A Curacao licence holding betting brand has no additional responsibility to look after the welfare of its customers beyond that of its own terms & conditions. Gambling welfare organisations such as GamCare and self-exclusion methods such as GAMSTOP and Gamban do not apply to sites registered on Curacao.  For this reason, betting sites which are licenced via Curacao are not a good option for players who know or suspect that they have a gambling problem. In fact, they should be avoided.
    • Lack of Payment Options – Whilst some useful additional payment options can be found on Curacao licenced betting sites, there are others which are likely to be missing. Therefore, while it can be an advantage to find alternative choices like credit cards and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, this must be weighed up against the fact that other useful payment methods such as PayPal and Pay by Phone for example, will not be available.
    • Lack of Apps and Slower Site Speeds – Conventionally licenced betting sites often invest heavily in consumer and mobile friendly apps in order to give their customers a smooth online experience Curacao licenced online betting sites tend not to offer these.  In practice, this often makes little difference. New game and site designs using HTML5 mean that most sites operate seamlessly across all devices. Nevertheless, most players now use mobiles as opposed to old desktop PCs, Macs and laptops, and an app will in most cases offer a more glitch-free experience.  It is also the case that some Curacao licenced sites will be operating from servers in less well connected locations, so a less smooth performance is certainly a possibility to be factored in when selecting such a site. Such a site is unlikely to offer a comparable experience to a major sports betting brand’s app or portal for example.

    Summary

    There are advantages and disadvantages to be found at both conventionally licenced betting sites and those registered in Curacao. For many players, a traditional sports betting portal will offer all they need: a professionally designed and smooth running app, all the football and mainstream sports options they require and the protection of the UKGC to keep them safe. Players with a known or suspected tendency toward problem gambling should also stick with the tried and tested conventionally licenced big name brands.

    However, many players may have a more relaxed attitude to risk, or a preference for greater anonymity. They may prefer the option of using credit cards and cryptocurrency as a method of payment, or welcome a greater variety of betting opportunities. For these players, a Curacao licenced betting site could well be a positive choice.