The Australian online gambling watchdog has approached Curaçao Government officials in regard to new legislative changes aimed at tackling the Dutch Caribbean nation’s massive online casino industry.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has also informed Curaçao that over 90 online casinos registered in the country have been unlawfully targeting Australian residents with their services, although the regulator had previously informed them that the online gambling websites were violating Australia’s gambling laws.
For the time being, Australia is among the few countries on a global scale, along with most US states, which do not allow its residents to use online casino services.
On the other hand, the digital casino sector has been one of the main money generators for Curaçao. Officially, there are only four master licences existing in the Dutch Caribbean island country, but offshore companies are still able to register their casino by paying a fee to the master licence holder and getting a “sublicence”. To make things worse, the ownership of these master licenses or the license holders’ identity has always been associated with a lack of transparency.
A number of these shady operators, however, target Australian residents. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has complained of 90 websites to the Government of Curaçao, saying that some of these operators deliberately use iconic animals or specific Australian slang in their business names or promotional materials to attract local customers.
Australian Authorities Remain Concern about Online Gambling Businesses Targeting Local Customers
According to the official releases between Curaçao and Australia and information gained by the Sydney Morning Herald under a freedom of information request, Aussie authorities are getting more and more concerned about some online gambling businesses targeting local users.
Several months ago, in May 2023, the ACMA sent a letter to Javier Silvania, the Finance Minister of Curaçao to complain about the master licence holders’ lack of action on alleged breaches of Australian gambling legislation.
A meeting between the Australian Communications and Media Authority and some Curaçao officials took place at the beginning of June to address the complaints made in Australia’s May letter. As revealed in the notes of the meeting, the new licensing regime is set to come into effect by the end of 2023. Under the new rules, the existing holders of so-called sublicences will be required to apply for a regular operating permit in order to be allowed to continue to provide their services. The meeting notes state that the representatives of Curaçao’s gambling authority confirmed that they would take into account the alleged gambling operators’ contraventions in other jurisdictions, including Australia.
The officials of the Curaçao Government told the ACMA representatives that the list of the contravening digital gambling companies will be forwarded to the relevant master licence holder. Until the final announcement on the issue is made, no significant operational impact on the online gambling companies’ businesses is expected in the short or medium term.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.