Dutch Lower House Approves Temporary Increase in Gaming Tax Rate

On Thursday, the Dutch Lower House voted to approve a temporary gaming tax rate increase of 1.1%, increasing the rate to 30.1%. The temporary increase is expected to last until 1 January 2019, six months after the anticipated enactment of the remote gaming bill.

An amendment proposed by MP Aukje de Vries (VVD), which would limit the duration of the temporary tax rate increase to one year at most, was defeated.

VAN chairman Frits Huffnagel said he was “very disappointed” that the Dutch Lower House rejected a firm ending date for the temporary gaming tax increase during its vote on the government’s Tax Plan 2018.


Responsible Gaming Expert Pieter Remmers: “It’s about Informed Choice”

In an interview with Casino Life, Pieter Remmers discusses the activities of the RG certification outfit Global Gaming Guidance Group (G4). “We were the first organization to set up an ISO standard on responsible gaming.”

In Remmers’ view, responsible gaming is all about informed choice and playing well-designed games in a secure and supportive environment.

In addition, Remmers looks back at working nearly thirty years in the gaming industry, discusses the effectiveness of advertising, and outlines the scope of the G4 service offering.


Loot Boxes Continue to Draw Attention from European Regulators

Dutch broadcaster RTL aired a news item (starting at 7:20) on the dangers of loot boxes in video games, which included a brief appearance by Netherlands Gaming Authority CEO Marja Appelman.

The UK Gambling Commission released the following statement:

“A key factor in deciding if that line has been crossed is whether in-game items acquired ‘via a game of chance’ can be considered money or money’s worth. In practical terms this means that where in-game items obtained via loot boxes are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out it is unlikely to be caught as a licensable gambling activity. In those cases our legal powers would not allow us to step in.”

Gaming lawyers at law firm Kalff Katz & Franssen also weighed in on the issue of loot boxes: “Can it be argued that the [Netherlands] Gaming Authority is not empowered to take any action because such games fall outside of its remit? Or is this an overly formalistic approach when viewed from a consumer protection perspective?” they ask.

On a more general level, Belgian researcher Jonathan Huyghe of the Catholic University of Leuven discusses the increasing occurrence of gambling-related elements in video games.


Upcoming Events

The following upcoming events may be of interest to members of the GiH community.

  • Registration for ICE 2018, which is to take place 6-8 February 2018 at ExCeL London, is live. As always, there will be a Gaming in Holland Lunch – on 7 February – at next year’s foremost gathering of gaming professionals in the world.
  • The GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2018, celebrating excellence in the field of regulatory compliance and responsible gambling, will be hosted at The Sheraton Grand Hotel, London – 18 April 2018.
  • Next year, the iGaming Super Show, EiG and Amsterdam Affiliate Conference come together as iGB Live!, a consolidated three brand event. The first edition of iGB Live! will take place 17 – 20 July 2018 at The Amsterdam RAI.
  • The 12th EASG Conference on Gambling Studies and Policy Issues is now scheduled for 11-14 September 2018 at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Valletta, Malta.


Attendees at GiH Session Discuss Future of Dutch Lottery Landscape as German Court Rules against State Monopolies

Yesterday, over eighty attendees joined Gaming in Holland and former Lotto CEO Tjeerd Veenstra, as well as other speakers, for a discussion session on the future of the Dutch lottery landscape at the premises of GiH partner LeaseWeb.

Both Roelant Reizevoort and Peter-Paul de Goeij, managing directors of new market entrants Fair Share Nederland and Lottovate, respectively, offered intriguing glimpses of the products their firms intend to launch early next year.

Responsible gaming expert Pieter Remmers addressed the increasingly blurred boundaries between lotteries and other games of chance, as traditional lottery operators seek to diversify their game offering.

Former Lotto CEO and board member of European Lotteries (EL) Tjeerd Veenstra not only provocatively predicted that within a few years the first couple of Dutch charity lotteries would leave the market, but also maintained, against the near-general agreement of the audience, that a restrictive lottery regime would have been legally viable, if only the Netherlands Gaming Authority would have dared to take a stronger stand.

A full report will be available later today at the Gaming in Holland website.

Meanwhile, a German court, for the first time, has ruled against the lottery monopolies held by the separate Länder. Because of the large amount of lottery marketing, the monopolies do not serve the permitted goal of limiting potential gambling-related harm; and thus, violate both EU law and the German constitution.

“The practice of jackpot advertising is clearly aimed at providing incentives to increase participation in lotteries. Thus, the nominal goals of the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling are ultimately no longer met,” German lawyer Martin Arendts commented.

Several lottery firms, including ZEAL and Lottoland, already welcomed the potential to compete with incumbent monopolies.


Other News

Media entrepreneur John de Mol’s Talpa Network and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) will launch an online platform, VoetbalTV, for broadcasting amateur soccer matches.


Holland Casino Groningen has narrowed down its search for a new location to two options.


The Netherlands Gaming Authority held a meeting with local operators and addiction care professionals to discuss the possibilities of increased cooperation in relation to duty of care.


The Netherlands Gaming Authority also assisted local authorities in raiding three suspected illegal gambling operations.


German high roller Claas Segebrecht has won the Master Classics of Poker €4,300 buy-in Main Event at Holland Casino Amsterdam, taking home €235,087.


Despite troublesome regulation, Western Europe, including the Netherlands, is a major earner for the Kindred Group, EGR Intel reports.


Malta’s gaming industry accounted for over 12% of the Maltese economy in the first half of 2017.


The Malta Gaming Authority has announced the setting up of the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM), which has the objective of developing training and educational programs for the gaming industry.


US gaming technology provider Scientific Games Corporation has increased its stake in rival NYX Gaming Group to just over 36%. Scientific Games’ aggressive acquisition of a major position in NYX is intended to thwart efforts by UK bookmaker William Hill to block SG’s planned acquisition of NYX.


Third quarter financial results for the world’s biggest companies in online poker show that the industry enjoying another impressive period of growth.


Golden Palace Group is to enhance its online gaming offering in Belgium after picking up an A+ license in the country.


Betsson Group has joined forces with Scout Gaming to launch a daily fantasy sports (DFS) platform.


UK-listed online gambling operator GVC Holdings has dramatically boosted its online bingo portfolio by acquiring UK operator Cozy Games.


Paddy Power Betfair is said to have joined William Hill in opening talks over the acquisition of Crown Resorts’ stake in Australian operator Crownbet.


Latvia’s parliament has announced that the license fee for live casino services in the country will now set at €400,000 ($475,900) per year.


Global gaming giant Intralot has reported a significant 29.9% increase in its year-on-year gross profits for the third quarter of 2017.


Billionaire Manuel Lao Hernandez is reportedly weighing whether to conduct an initial public offering or to unload its minority stake in Cirsa, Spain’s biggest casino and bingo hall operator, amid interest from investors.


Gaming Innovation Group has revealed plans to launch an in-house casino game development arm to add to its growing B2B offering.


ALEA.com has unveiled a new B2B business arm which will grant other operators access to the firm’s online casino platform.


While FOBTs were formally legalized in the rest of the UK in 2005, they may not be legal in Northern Ireland.


Belfast City Council is reportedly carrying out a public consultation into whether to build a £300m casino complex in the city.


The Cypriot government has confirmed that it is seeking to regulate bingo in the country.


Clarion Gaming will be promoting the social responsibility message at world gaming’s most important business event, with the launch of the The Consumer Protection Zone at ICE London 2018.


Illegal sports wagering now accounts for 97% of all US sports betting, according to a new analysis by market data provider H2 Gambling Capital.


Lottery betting operator Lottoland has continued its international expansion with the launch of a new US subsidiary.