Published On: Tue, Apr 10th, 2018

Dutch Parliament has been waiting for answers from Curaçao about online gambling since 2016

Ronal van RaakTHE HAGUE, WILLEMSTAD - September 2016, the Dutch Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak asked a number of questions about the gambling industry in Curaçao. The then Minister of Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk sent the questions to Curaçao. To this day Ronald van Raak has received no answer to his questions.

Last month Van Raak asked a number of critical questions about the online gambling sector in Curaçao. Undersecretary of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops replied. Knops also promised - for the third time - to remind Curaçao the about the unanswered questions from the Dutch MP.

Curaçao was already rather annoyed about the Dutch involvement in the gambling sector on the Caribbean island.

Casinos in the e-zone pay 2% tax

Van Raak had a number of questions about the statements made by former Undersecretary of Kingdom Relations Willem Vermeend in the Curaçao newspaper Amigoe. In this article, Vermeend explained about 'offshore' companies. Offshore is creating a commercial zone with tax-friendly conditions. Companies that are located within the e-commerce zone in Curaçao pay only 2 percent tax. This offshore was conceived at the time to compete with other offshore locations and to still collect some tax.

However, according to Vermeend, it was the intention that companies would really be active in Curaçao and that there would therefore be no question of only a paper construction. The 'offshore' was branded by Vermeend as being of importance for the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands.

For several years, many online casinos have been using the 'offshore' in Curaçao. Curaçao is a popular base for online casinos. They pay only 2 percent tax and all facilities (data servers, accountants, trust offices) are present. There is also no regulator that "harasses" casinos with player complaints, strict rules or advertising restrictions.

The answer from Undersecretary Knops is short but powerful. The offshore and the online gambling sector on the islands is an autonomous authority of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten. Until October 10, 2010, it was an autonomous authority of the Netherlands Antilles.

Supervision is the responsibility of Curaçao

Van Raak also wants to know to what extent Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten are authorized to grant licenses themselves to online casinos. From his questions, it can be concluded that he thinks that the Netherlands has let things happen until 2010 and that there was a lack of supervision. Van Raak even speaks of a tolerance policy.

Knops rejects this. He points out that Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have their own gambling law and that the Netherlands cannot intervene. Curaçao can, therefore, decide for itself whether it issues online gaming licenses and to whom.

Knops indicates that he and Minister of Justice Grapperhaus are worried about the gambling industry in Curaçao. He wants to try to prevent further expansion of the illegal games of chance from Curaçao. If there is a cross-border crime or money laundering, the Netherlands is involved. Knops mentions the arrest and extradition of Francesco Corallo as an example.

Reminder to Curaçao

Van Raak also wants answers to the questions he posed in September 2016. So far, Curaçao has not yet answered these questions.

Van Raak wants to know the following about the Caribbean island:

 

  • does the construction of master licenses and sub-licenses have a legal basis?
  • or UTS - manager of the data center where the casinos are running - reports unusual, financial transactions.
  • or UTS - say the Curaçao telecommunication company - besides IT services also provides other (hand and span) services to online casinos.
  • does UTS account for the taxation of the casinos operating through its licenses and network?

 

There are four master licensees on Curaçao. These (telecom) companies have an "Information Processing" license. All four companies sell sub-licenses to online casinos in large numbers.

 

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