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The Evolution of Dissent and Democracy: A Story of Changing Perspectives on Gambling

The Evolution of Dissent and Democracy: A Story of Changing Perspectives on Gambling


March 6, 2024


As a child, I grew up in a society where gambling was considered a sin and a crime. The local lotto was clandestine, and fiercely persecuted by law enforcement. The arrival of American tourism brought with it the introduction of casinos, but locals were barred from entering, and strict controls were enforced.

People resorted to playing cards and rolling dice on street corners, risking arrest by the police. However, the 1980s marked a significant shift as the local lotto became legal, and restrictions on entering casinos were gradually lifted. The business model shifted towards catering to local gamblers, many of whom were driven by hopes of increasing their income from welfare but ended up spiraling into deeper poverty.

The prevalence of gambling addiction among locals remains largely unknown, as the activity transitioned from being condemned to being embraced as a vital economic pillar. E-gambling emerged on the scene as a new economic pillar, and today, Curaçao stands as one of the world leaders in this sector.

Politicians sell e-gambling as a cornerstone of the economy, enacting legislation to regulate the industry and comply with international standards, even as some governments maintain bans on gambling for their citizens.

On our island, gambling has undergone a profound transformation, evolving from a sinful vice to a celebrated blessing, illustrating the complex interplay between dissent, democracy, and societal norms.

Miguel Goede

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