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Political Changes in Curacao Jurisdiction

By: Fabian Rictor, Wednesday October 13th 2010
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Earlier this week major political changes were announced with regard to the island of Curacao, which is one of the leading issuers of licenses to online gaming operators. Whether these changes will impact those operators, and if so then how, is too early to tell. But everyone wagering at Curacao licensed online casinos should be aware of what has transpired.

Curacao till now was a part of the Netherlands Antilles, which was a Dutch dependency. The other islands in the Netherlands Antilles were St Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba. All are located in a cluster in the Caribbean. In the constitutional changes that have taken place all islands have become autonomous special municipalities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In effect this means that the islands will be self governing in all matters except for matters of defense and foreign policy. The Dutch government will have responsibility for those. This is identical to the system followed in the case of Aruba, which attained autonomy in 1986.

The case of Curacao is slightly different from the other islands and this may be of interest to online players. The Dutch government will also have initial oversight over Curacao's finances under a debt-relief arrangement. The BBC report, which carried this news, also states that the five islands have collectively amassed a debt of around €2 billion euros, most of it owed to the Netherlands. There has been bickering between the islands as to who is responsible for the debt. The smaller islands of St Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are putting the blame on Curacao, which was the de facto capital of the former Netherlands Antilles and the centre for online gambling licensing. On the other hand Curacao has complained that it has been unfairly carrying too much of the financial burden for the federation, especially for Saba, St Eustatius and Bonaire. Hence it is now up to the Dutch government to ensure that the financial transition is carried out smoothly and the financial viability of the islands as autonomous municipalities is not compromised. In addition to online gambling licensing, tourism, petroleum refining and offshore finance are the sources of income for Curacao.

The Dutch had colonized these islands, alongside Aruba, in the 17th century. The territory was initially called the Dutch West Indies. In 1954 it became the semi-autonomous Netherlands Antilles. This current change has been given effect based on referendums held over the past few years. None of the islands voted for complete independence.

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Comment by: Simtron On: October 14, 2010
I guess they're just trying to separate themselves from any legal responsibility and liability that's associated with being involved in the gambling industry.

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