It’s business as usual at local Robbie’s Lottery

POSTED: 11/15/13 2:50 PM

Dos Santos predicts bleak future for numbers game

St. Maarten – Robbie’s Lottery owner Robbie dos Santos has had it with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Curacao. After a raid on his office on Monday by a team of thirty officers, dos Santos closed down and sent all his staff home. In a report in the Antilliaans Dagblad he paints a bleak picture of the number game he has made his fortune with. But at Robbie’s lottery on Cannegieter Street in Sint Maarten, it is business as usual.

Dos Santos railed in a radio-interview in Curacao on Radio Mas against what he considers a great injustice. “It is aimed at me personally. They want to lock me up, and it is all bullshit. I am totally not involved in money laundering and drug dealing. Every day I wonder: what did I do to deserve this punishment. I have not been sleeping well for the past two-and-a-half years. Why me?”

The 56-year-old lottery boss complained on the radio about the fact that a team of thirty police officers raided his office on Monday evening for hours. “All this under the pretense that they wanted to confiscate my administration, but why do they have to be heavily armed and why do they have to wear bulletproof vests?”

Dos Santos said that he could produce his complete administration with one push of a button. “Why don’t the public prosecutor and the makamba officers call and ask what this is all about for them; my door is always wide open.”

Dos Santos was obviously upset with the display of power during the house search. “I was not allowed anything. They told me: you will sit there and you will not sit there.”

Dos Santos said that prosecutor Mauritsz de Kort told him that the investigators were missing some details. “If that is so, why do they have to show up with thirty people? Are we living here in Cuba or Venezuela? They just told me – this is our work and this is the way these things go and a lot more bla blabla.”

Dos Santos suspects that the prosecutor’s office is engaged in a personal attack on him that has little to do with his business. He is not taking it lightly, he told Radio Mas host Dwight: “I am really scared Dwight. It hurts. I fear for my family but I am not giving up. They want to lock me up.”

Dos Santos also gave a candid insight into the lottery business he has been engaged in for the past four decades. The future of Wega di Number (the foundation for numbers games) in Curacao is bleak, he asserts, because only elderly citizens still buy numbers. Youngsters hardly participate in the traditional numbers game. They focus more on technology, like playing games and gambling on the internet. “Wega di Number is going towards a slow death,” Dos Santos said. “Business is bad in Curacao. Sales are down and we will not be able to keep this up any longer.”

Dos Santos considers the turnover tax a burden for his business. “This is killing Wega di Number. Do you know who keeps the foundation alive? If we from Robbie’s Lottery do not make any deposits there is simply no money for the salaries of the foundation-personnel. We are the only ones to levy and transfer turnover tax.

According to Dos Santos other lottery-businesses do not pay anything. “The Chinese and the rest of them. It is a complete chaos. I can’t anymore and I don’t want this anymore.”

Nevertheless, he pleads for the introduction of a profit tax on games of chance. This is how it works in Saba and Statia, where Robby’s is also established. But the profit tax is brought up by consumers, the Antilliaans Dagblad notes in an aside. Dos Santos: In that system companies pay a percentage of their profit. That is the way to do it, otherwise we will not survive.”

While Dos Santos closed his offices in Curacao and sent home all his staff, in Sint Maarten the company operates as usual. The main office on Cannegieter Street is open and according to a local manager that situation will not change.

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