Industry Expresses Dismay as Dutch Legislators Push for Higher Online Gaming Tax

Representatives Jeroen van Wijngaarden and Mei Li Vos of ruling coalition parties VVD and PvdA have proposed a series of amendments (1, 2, 3) to the remote gaming bill which would introduce a uniform tax rate for both online and land-based gaming of 29% of GGR.

According to the original bill, online operators would have been taxed at 20% of GGR in order to encourage Dutch punters to seek out licensed operators instead of more cost-competitive, unlicensed alternatives.

If, however, the regulation of the online gaming market sufficiently boosts tax revenues, the tax rate for both online and land-based operators could potentially, after three years, be lowered to 25% of GGR.

The amendments of Van Wijngaarden and Vos come as a big surprise, as the government, through State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff, until quite recently vigorously defended the lower rate for online operators.

In an exclusive Q&A with Gaming in Holland, Representative Jeroen van Wijngaarden (VVD) cited “a lack of political support in Parliament” as a reason to abandon differentiated tax rates for land-based and online gaming. “It’s one market, so we want one tax rate. Let’s not make taxes any more complicated than they already are,” Van Wijngaarden added.

Representative Vos (PvdA) also commented on the proposed amendments on her personal Facebook page, stating that she felt the idea of differentiated tax rates to be “rather ridiculous” from the start.

Rutger-Jan Hebben of Speel Verantwoord, the trade organization of online operators looking to enter a regulated Dutch market, warned that the amendments would result in “a less attractive product offering for Dutch players:”

“Game variety and payout rates outside of the Netherlands will end up being more attractive. A significant portion of the one million people in the Netherlands who are already playing online will thus keep opting for unlicensed, non-tax paying operators.

Moreover, if there must be a uniform tax rate, it should apply to all equally – including land-based lotteries which are currently paying, as the Netherlands Gaming Authority recently concluded [pp. 47-9], an effective tax rate that is far lower.”

Although the higher tax rate for online operators is likely to have a number of adverse consequences for the Dutch online market, it is now all but certain that the amended bill will pass the Lower House. “Sooner rather than later,” expects Van Wijngaarden.

 

Netherlands Gaming Authority Releases Market Scan of Dutch Land-Based Gambling Sector

Just before the end of 2015, the Netherlands Gaming Authority managed to release an overview of the Dutch land-based gaming market of the previous year (2014).

Some key takeaways:

  • Total GGR in 2014 was €2.24 bn, more or less the same as in 2013.
  • Lotteries made up 47% of the total land-based market; slot machines 40%; casinos 11%; and sports betting a mere 1% (but rising fast!).
  • Per capita expenditures, compared to other European countries, are middling.
  • The outlook, in particular for the casino and sports betting sectors, is positive.

 

“Binary Options to Be Classified as Financial Instruments”

Responding to official questions by Representatives Ronnes and Oskam (CDA), Dutch Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem stated that – in line with the European Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) – binary options are to be classified as financial instruments rather than a game of chance.

Accordingly, the Netherlands Gaming Authority has judged overseeing binary option trading to be beyond its purview.

 

ICE Provides Platform for Responsible Gambling Trust

Gaming in Holland, media partner of ICE, is happy to announce that the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT), the leading UK charity committed to minimizing gambling-related harm, has confirmed that it will be taking a high profile presence at February’s ICE exhibition (2-4 February, ExCeL Centre, London).

Marc Etches, Chief Executive of RGT stated: “As the world’s leading gaming exhibition, ICE represents an invaluable opportunity for RGT to continue to raise the profile of its work.  We will also be explaining the ambitious program which we are planning to undertake over the next three years and using this forum to remind a significant number of industry players of the necessity of contributing to the charity to support this work.”

For more information and to register for tickets, visit www.icetotallygaming.com.

 

Other News

Dutch lottery license holders (see here, here, here, here, and here) are no longer allowed to draw prizes from among unsold tickets without clearly informing lottery players.

“Merger mania won’t abate in gaming industry.”

Betfair withdraws from Canada.

Amaya, having previously bought PokerStars, is now handed a $870m fine in Kentucky.

While the ongoing Macau casino slump hits a new low, legal sports betting may come to India.

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