Published On: Wed, May 8th, 2013

SMS-lottery formally illegal

Court of JusticeWILLEMSTAD –   Although Robbie's Lottery has been selling lottery through the UTS SMS system since 2008, his competitor Lucky Seven did not get permission in 2011 because formally it is not permitted. This is according to a letter from the then Minister of General Affairs and Prime Minister,  Gerrit Schotte (MFK), to the rejected lottery holder.  The letter states: 'The Government is not currently prepared to exercise control on your requested manner of selling lottery. This is very important.  Based on this policy we cannot grant you permission to sell lottery through the SMS system.’

The lottery holder Lucky Seven had applied on May 26 of that year for permission under the Lottery Regulation 1909 to offer the possibility to sell lottery through the SMS system. "Your request for a permit for selling tickets through SMS is rejected," Schotte says in the letter, dated November 30, 2011.

According to the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, they have a copy of the letter. The person or company to whom the letter was addressed is not legible because this part was made black, but the newspaper said that is has learned from reliable sources that the application was done by Lucky Seven Lottery, a competitor of Robbie's Lottery, although of smaller size.

What is striking about the letter is that the applicant did not receive permission to sell lottery through the SMS system (using cell phones), but it is widely known that Robbie’s Lottery was already selling lottery through the same system. Robbie’s Lottery offers the possibility to its clients under the heading “SMS2WIN”.

The murdered leader of the Pueblo Soberano party, Helmin Wiels, strongly opposed,  a few days or even a few hours before his death, this type of illegal sale of lottery and spoke of a large scale of illegal practices and that he would raise this issue to the competent authorities. Last Friday Wiels announced that he had a letter with 31 questions on this subject. This letter was addressed to the Ministers Nelson Navarro (Justice), Jose Jardim (Finance), Steven Martina (Economy) and Earl Balborda (Communications) and to the Public Prosecutor.

During the time of the Government Schotte, the Foundation Fundashon Wega di Number Kòrsou (FWNK)(Curacao Lottery) was under the political responsibility of the Minister of Economic Development Nasser El Hakim (Schotte’s party colleague). However, permits fall under the Ministry of General Affairs of the Prime Minister and Legislation & Legal Affairs (WJZ). The application made by Lucky Seven negative after the advice from WJZ and FWNK, because of the lack of legal frameworks. Thus the request was rejected by Schotte.

The current policy of the Government is to sell tickets at locality (sales offices along the way) or door-to-door salesmen, writes Schotte at the end of 2011. Robbie's lottery offers now more than three years the possibility to buy lottery through the SMS system. Schotte writes that the Government "is already committed ' to do a research on the sales mode via SMS, in particular the complications this has on the existing law and mechanisms regarding lottery sales.

"All this so that the necessary changes can be made in the policy and also to implement legislation within short time so to make the sales through the SMS system socially responsible." Schotte promises the Robbie’s Lottert competitor that he will be advised once the new policy is established.

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