Island Council approves amendment casino law

The admission fee of 10 guilders for casinos will be replaced by a so-called 5 percent cash-out for each visitor. The Island Council decided the aforementioned this morning after approving the amendment of the Island-regulation Casino-system Curaçao.

The amendment will take place after consultation between the sector and the Board of Governors (BC).

The local casino law had been adjusted mid last year in order to generate additional revenues of 20 million guilders. This amount consisted, amongst others, of the revenues from admission fees, estimated to yield 6 million guilders. However, the admission fee was never introduced. The 5 percent cash-out would also have to generate 6 million guilders; Deputy Mike Willem (Finances, PAR) calculated this morning.

The casino sector had not agreed with the admission fee and had come up with three alternatives, of which the cash-out had been the first. However, the BC had rejected the other alternatives.
“Their second alternative regarded an introduction of the proposal through a sliding scale, but this would actually cost 3.5 million guilders. Their third proposal regarded a licence period with an extension up to ten years. However, we can only consider an extension if the entire sector complies with the guidelines and laws” according to the Deputy. All casinos must submit an audited annual report, but only a few casinos comply with the rules, says Willem.
The Deputy contradicted rumors such as the measure leading to loss of turnover or jobs. “Two years ago, the sector had a turnover of 230 million, which is now 360 million. An increase of 130 million guilders in two years’ time. I therefore doubt that this measure will lead to loss of turnover or jobs.” There had been considerable criticism from the opposition regarding the amendment. For instance, various MAN-members concluded the measure was aimed at squeezing money out of citizens, while representatives of the blue party wondered why casino-owners were not dealt with directly. On the other hand, NPA council-member, Aldebert Rooijer stated he could not possibly vote for a proposal regarding gambling as it is against the word of the Lord. Eventually, a vote was taken. The proposal was adopted with eleven votes in favor and eight against.

(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

29 March 2010

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