Ronald van Raak, Dutch MP for the Socialist Party has been inquiring about the gambling sector of Curaçao among other Caribbean jurisdictions in the ‘Netherland Antilles’ and local media has become a platform for the discussions. According to the Curaçao Chronicle, the MP sent a letter to Ronald Plasterk, Minister of Kingdom Relations asking if the Minister agrees that Curaçao is failing to supervise the online gaming sector and seeking clarification on whether a communications company, with its sights on expanding, might also expand online casino and SMS lottery offerings.

Ronald van Raak asked in a letter, “Do you agree that Curaçao has failed in its supervision on the gambling sector” If so, what role do you see for the Kingdom to eliminate these administrative abuses?” He further stated, “[Curaçao telecommunication company UTS] purchasing Ctex may be intended to expand those activities,” said the Holland MP.

Furthering his inquiry into UTS, Van Raak asked, “How do you explain that UTS and its subsidiaries are public companies, but do not belong to the country and its institutions, and that supervision is not authorized by the General Court of Auditors?”

The thorny question of online casino sub-licenses was also addressed with the MP singling out three online casinos, one of which shut down right after his inquiry.

“When and by whom was the construction master license holder and sub-holder for online gambling, especially from the e-zones, conceived and implemented?”

The Minister noted that he considers matters of abuse to be serious issues but conceded that enforcement is a matter for Curaçao to undertake while noting that economic and financial crime enforcement can be supported by The Netherlands.

By the end of the week Curaçao’s Gaming Control Board (GCB) and United Telecommunication Services (UTS) had responded according to a report in The Daily Herald of St. Maarten. The GCB defended its handling of responsibilities in a press release stating, “GCB is a highly professional organisation with extensive specific knowledge and experience with regard to the complex monitoring of the gambling industry.” the release stated.

A representative of UTS told The Herald, “UTS incorporated the Curaçao Code of Corporate Governance in its statutes and into its operations.” UTS also reportedly stated that they are the only provider offering a telecommunications concession on the entire island to be in compliance.

Van Raak previously asked who examines UTS financial reports but that answer is yet to appear in local media.
In mid March, Van Raak and ruling party MP Andre Bosman of The Netherlands asked a series of pointed questions about sports betting and other gambling activities in Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Some local reports indicated that as many as 50 people were working on an investigation into illegal gambling in St. Maarten. By mid April, Today, another St. Maarten newspaper was claiming to debunk the reports and minimize Mr. van Raak’s inquiries that began surfacing as early as January.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office knows nothing of an investigation into the gambling industry in St. Maarten,” a spokesman for the St. Maarten prosecutor’s office reportedly said in reply to questions from Today. “There is also no cooperation with the United States. The only thing we have is a request for judicial assistance from Italy, but that was already known.”

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