The Netherlands’ anticipated legalisation of online gambling and more specifically the proposed tax rate for online gambling operators has come under fire by the Dutch trade association for gaming machine operators De VAN Kansspelen Branche-organisatie (VAN).
According to Dutch newspaper Telegraaf.nl, the association together with the European Amusement and Gaming Federation (EUROMAT) will submit a formal complaint to the European Commission focusing on the disparity of the proposed 20 percent tax rate for online gambling versus the 29 percent tax rate currently levied on the land-based industry, saying it is a violation of EU Law.
“That is a form of illegal state aid to online gambling companies,” said Frits Huffnagel, chairman of the VAN. “The same product should be taxed as heavily.”
“The Dutch government has failed to demonstrate that this aid is necessary,” commented Annette Kok, president of EUROMAT. “Online operators will have to enter regulated markets and pay the applicable tax rates if they want to grow; for that reason licences will be attractive to online operators even if they have to pay the same tax as land-based businesses. The Dutch government has provided no evidence to the contrary.
“If they are allowed to push this through, all they will achieve is a huge boost to the marketing budgets of international online operators who don’t need the Dutch government’s help to remain competitive.
“Rather than channelling demand into regulated products, the Dutch government is only going to succeed in increasing consumption overall with a likely rise in the risk of problem gambling.”