Published On: Tue, Mar 20th, 2018

Dutch Parliament concerned about gambling sector in Curaçao

Raymond-Knops1THE HAGUE - The Dutch government will try to prevent illegal gambling in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.

This is what Undersecretary Raymond Knops of the Interior and Kingdom Relations writes on behalf of Minister of Legal Protection Sander Dekker in response to written questions from Ronald van Raak (SP). The minister notes that the government has 'serious' concerns about the offshore and gambling industry in Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. At the same time, Knops emphasizes that the granting of licenses, the supervision and the enforcement of the supply of offshore games of chance fall within the autonomy of the countries.

“Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten have their own gambling laws and regulations. Because there is no question of Kingdom affairs, the Kingdom has no powers in the licensing and extension of offshore hazard games, the supervision thereof and the enforcement of the country regulation offshore hazard games of Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten.”

The minister refers to the arrest and extradition of gambling boss Francesco Corallo at the request of the Italian authorities in the autumn of 2016 as an example of this approach. “The Dutch Gaming Authority is also committed to improving cooperation with the countries to prevent illegal games of chance from these countries on the Dutch market.”

Van Raak also wanted to know whether the development of the islands as tax havens was promoted because the Netherlands could conclude so many tax treaties. Knops does not give an immediate answer: “Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten are authorized to negotiate tax treaties independently. The treaties are concluded by the Kingdom for those countries. After parliamentary approval, treaties are subsequently ratified by the Kingdom.”

According to the Undersecretary, tax treaties that apply to the Netherlands only apply in the same way. “The other countries within the Kingdom cannot derive any rights from the Dutch tax treaties. Moreover, the Netherlands has the policy to prevent the improper use of tax treaties. This is reflected in the inclusion of anti-abuse measures in Dutch tax treaties and tax regimes that apply within the Kingdom.”

When asked whether the rules for offshore games of chance were set up with the help of the Netherlands on the initiative of the former offshore association under the chairmanship of Gregory Elias, the Undersecretary could not provide any clarity: “The preparation and adoption of a national ordinance is done by the government and the parliaments of Curaçao, Aruba or Sint Maarten. The National Ordinance offshore hazard games from 1993 is originally a national ordinance of the Netherlands Antilles. It is not known to me whether these rules for offshore hazard games have been set up with the help of the Netherlands, on the initiative of the former association for offshore interests.”

For the answer to other - dated 2016 - questions about the gambling sector in the Caribbean, Van Raak has to be patient: “The questions have been passed on twice to the government of Curaçao. I have not received any response yet and I have no idea when I can get them. I will once again ask the government of Curaçao by letter to answer the questions or give an indication of why they are not answering the questions. In addition, I will pay attention to this in my regular contacts with the government of Curaçao. Perhaps it should be considered to also request attention from the Parliament of Curaçao via the contacts within the framework of the Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultation,” says Knops.

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