Counterproposal casino-owners discussed

WILLEMSTAD — A delegation of casino-owners had visited Premier Emily de Jongh-Elhage (PAR) Monday morning in Fort Amsterdam for a discussion. The owners had submitted a counterproposal, which in their opinion formed a better balance for new legal payments.



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As of Sunday, local casino visitors namely have to pay an entrance fee of 10 guilders. That admission receipt is valid for an entire day for all casinos. This implies estimated revenues of 20 million guilders for the island territory, which is double the current amount. The owners state that this amount is too much. Instead of this, they suggest to withhold 5 percent on each won amount, so when someone wins 100 guilders that person must pay 5 guilders. One does not pay if one does not win. In addition, they suggest a percentage of 12.5 on all game revenues instead of a sliding scale. Furthermore, they suggest a ten-year license instead of the current three-year license.

According to the owners, it’s a misconception that casinos earn a lot of money, as there are also many related expenses, such as for personnel. Moreover, people of the island especially gamble with much smaller amounts, and perhaps much more than 20 million guilders could be collected with this counterproposal. The authorities are considering the feasibility of the counterproposal. The owners do not know when they would receive a response to their counterproposal.

The adjusted casino law became effective on June 30th, and should encourage responsible gaming and prevent addiction. The entrance fee does not apply for tourists. A system of printed plastic bangles has been thought of as entrance receipt for local people for all casinos. As supervisory organization for the casino system, the Gaming Control Board (GCB) has already ordered the machines for the entrance receipts, including the bangles, which will be provided with the logo of GCB and all relevant data in the future. The bangle will have the name of the casino, a unique serial number and the date and time of issuance. On their own responsibility, the casinos are allowed to organize the issuance of these entrance receipts. However, they must realize that the GCB will supervise this and that such requires their cooperation. There will be severe fines upon violation of the regulations. The owners are also not very happy with the system. For example, in this manner it is immediately obvious who visits a casino or not, and not all employers appreciate that their employees visit the casino during their time off.

Tourists will be requested to show a pre-impressed valid ID-receipt provided by their hotel. The hotel guests should be clearly informed of the prevailing procedures upon entering the casino. The hotels will hand out the ID-receipts in compliance with the regulations provided by the GCB. The casinos will be given a detailed explanation with regard to the ordering, paying and issuance of casino entrance receipts.

Of the 20 million guilders that the new law should yield, 12.5 million guilders will be contributed to the budget of the island territory in conformity with the agreements for a balanced budget as a condition of the debt reconstruction in view of the final declaration. In addition, 7.5 million is intended for the supervision costs and the campaign for approach of the gambling addiction. The GCB will provide the casinos with guidelines on how to intervene as soon as they observe signs of problematical gambling behavior; ultimately, it is also for the benefit of the casinos that these people are helped based on responsible gaming. If someone is refused entrance to one casino for a certain period, then this prohibitive order also applies for all casinos on the island.

In the background of the implementation of the new legal regulation, there is also the factor that at the time, the casinos had been exempted from the 5 percent sales tax for practical reasons. This entrance fee, which is also imposed on the consumer, is now being implemented in order to somewhat adjust aforementioned exemption. By means of a detailed letter, the casinos have recently been informed of the procedures that should be complied with upon the introduction of the new legal stipulations.