Online gaming groups criticise new Dutch tax proposals

Online gaming groups criticise new Dutch tax proposals

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 Totally Gaming
Ekaterina Alexandrova said that high rates lead to "decreased consumer protection"

The Netherlands – now the only European Union Member State not to have passed legislation that regulates online gaming – could charge a 29 per cent gross revenue tax on operators when its Remote Gaming Bill is finally approved.

While casino monopoly Holland Casino and arcade owners already pay 29 per cent tax on the proceeds of gambling, the Dutch government had planned to introduce a rate of 20 per cent on online gambling in a bid to prevent operators from being undercut by unlicenced sites.

However, MPs from the VVD and PvdA ruling parties want to now amend the Bill to impose a uniform tariff of 29 per cent, which would be reduced to 25 per cent three years after online gambling is legalised. 

Speaking to TotallyGaming.com, Ekaterina Alexandrova, senior legal advisor at the European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA), said: "We believe, at 29 per cent, that the channeling rate will be too low which, of course, has serious consequences and decreased consumer protection. The European Commission has stated that 20 per cent is the point of no return, as also confirmed by Dutch State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff. We at EGBA always advocate for effective consumer protection."

The proposal was also criticised by Rutger-Jan Hebben, director of Speel Verantwoord, the Dutch online gaming trade association, who said such high rates would benefit illegal operators.

“The proposal of VVD and PvdA would result in a less attractive offer for the Dutch player,” said Hebben, whose organisation includes members such as Betfair, Bet365 and Unibet. “The game variety and the distribution percentages outside the Netherlands will be much more attractive.

“Of the million people who are already playing online in the Netherlands, a large part will therefore not use the regulated supply in the Netherlands.”

After Lithuania’s online gaming laws came into effect last week, the Netherlands is now the only European Union country that has not passed laws to regulate the sector. The Dutch government hopes that the Remote Gaming Bill will be voted upon early this year and will then come into effect this summer, although Eric Olders, chief executive of the Netherlands’ largest land-based gaming company, JVH Gaming, told TotallyGaming.com last year that 2017 is a more realistic date.

The Telegraaf newspaper said in April last year more than 200 companies have expressed an interest in a licence to offer online gambling in the Netherlands.

A report released in November 2015 said that €500m ($529.7m) is being gambled illegally online in the Netherlands each year.

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