Dutch Government focusing on illegal gamblers
Jan Braaksma and Jorn Jonker
Illegal gamblers need to be tackled seriously. After being inundated with complaints from legal gambling enterprises, the attitude of government has changed somewhat. Secretary of State for Security and Justice, Teeven, wants to legalize online gambling from 2015 onwards. The VVD – minister does not, however, believe that everyone would choose the legal route. Illegal gambling, for example, is cheaper because no taxes are paid for it. In Teevens draft bill his ambition is that from now on 1 of 4 digital gamblers would operate outside the law.
Lacking in ambition
Gambling operators expressed their criticism about this. They are of the opinion that Teeven by accepting that such a large part of gamblers violate the law, as lacking in ambition. “It is peculiar that Government sets such a low standard”, was the opinion of Ewout Keuleers, director for legal affairs with Unibet. Keuleers noted that Teevens could at the very least ensure that as many players as possible would do so at an approved provider. He is joined herein by his colleagues from Holland Casino and by VAN, the trade organization for slot machine operators. They would like Teeven to strive to achieve a betting market where 100 percent of the gamblers place their bets legally.
The spokesperson for Teeven announced that the Minister was aware of the complaints from the gambling operators. The aim is therefore to adjust the target that only 1 of 5 gamblers will place their bets illegally. “In order to achieve that we need to work harder.” Holland Casino would prefer that the Secretary of State block sites of illegal gambling providers, as well as payments to them.
Unibet is of the opinion that it would help if the tax on gaming would be reduced, in order to reduce the gap between legal and illegal operators as much as possible, so that the difference would be minimal. The more ambitious plans from Teeven, will not be met with applause: “an unrealized profit”.