The government of the Netherlands prefers to stay out of the issue of regulating online casinos operating from Curaçao. Netherlands Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk said that the managing of the gambling industry based in Curaçao and St. Maarten is purely an autonomous issue of the countries in question, even if there have been found to be many illegalities in how the industry is run. In fact, Plasterk went on to say that he would not comment on the actions of individual companies and people.
The question of whether the Netherlands government would take action against gambling sites from Curaçao involved with illegal activities was raised by two members of the Netherlands parliament, Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak and VVD member Andre Bosman. They pointed out that the gambling industry in Curaçao was unregulated and operated without any supervision. The two ministers also share the opinion that Dutch national telecom company UTS is involved with these illegal activities.
The ministers also asked for an investigation into the activities of the accountancy firm KPMG in this context. There were reports in the media that KPMG was involved in checking the finances of Francesco Corallo, an influential casino owner in St. Maarten. However, KPMG Dutch Caribbean released a statement at that time denying any involvement with Francesco Corallo.
The Ministry of Security and Justice in the Hague is indeed concerned about Curaçao based companies operating in the Dutch market. However, Plasterk did not indicate whether the Ministry would supervise the operation of these casinos.
UTS weighed in on the issue by releasing a press statement that the two MPs had a double agenda in making accusations against it. The company was also disturbed that its reputation had been affected. In fact, the telecom called upon local MPs in Curaçao to discuss the issue with the Dutch government.
Plasterk went on to explain that any possible illegalities had to be looked into by the Public Prosecutor’s Offices in Curaçao and St. Maarten. The Minister of Justice of that country would have the responsibility of taking the issue further. However, he did say that the Netherlands government would get into the picture in case of any criminal activities.
The May 2015 agreement between Netherlands and St. Maarten on fighting crime costs the Hague €22.1 million every year. The Prosecutor’s Office in Curaçao has definitely been going against illegal gambling activities, as the successful action against lottery bigwig Robbie dos Santos showed. NAf. 72.5 million was seized during this exercise and dos Santos received a two year prison term.
The issue is unlikely to die down in a hurry since people from the Netherlands are increasingly taking to online gambling as a great form of entertainment. People, in ever increasing numbers, are using their laptops, PCs and smart phones to access online sites to play a variety of games such as Tiki Island slots. If the government doesn’t ensure that people have well regulated sites to visit then they will lose a great deal of money.