The Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist on 10-10-10. Last week, the country consisted of five islands, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba, and formed part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Now, two of the islands, Curacao and St. Maarten are separate countries. The remaining islands, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, have become overseas territories of the Netherlands.
Because these islands have always enjoyed a degree of autonomy, they have become centers of online gambling licensing in recent years. Dutch gambling laws, which currently do not allow internet gambling in Holland, do not apply on these islands. Instead, they have been free to create their own gambling legislation, and chose years ago to not only legalize but also to license online gambling sites.
The center for this internet gambling activity is Curacao, where dozens of internet gambling websites are licensed and hosted, serving players in all parts of the world.
This change of status is largely symbolic, since the Netherlands Antilles have been largely self-governed for the past 56 years, and it is unlikely that the change will affect online gambling sites licensed in Curacao.
Meanwhile, the Dutch government is considering revising the laws on the mainland to legalize internet gambling in the Netherlands. For many years the nation was strongly opposed to online gambling, but a recent change of government has brought with it the possibility of liberalizing the industry. The legalization process would likely start with online poker, but might continue to other areas such as internet casinos and sports betting. An early estimate suggests that the change could bring in as much as €270 million in annual revenue.