The lugubrious progress toward online gambling legalisation in the Netherlands took another cautious step this week with the news that Coalition parties VVD and PvdA have submitted a proposal to the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) for a uniform tax rate for both internet and land gambling of 29 percent of GGR.
The Dutch newspaper Telegraaf recalls that the Cabinet’s previous plan proposed that online gamblers pay a lower gaming tax of 20 percent than those who gamble in actual casinos, a suggestion that De Tweede Kamer saw as unfair and inequitable.
The publication NL Times opines that the government expects that legalising online gambling will bring in more tax revenue, enabling the tax rate to be reduced to 25 percent over the initial three years.
A recent study by Motivaction revealed that Dutch punters wager nearly Euro 500 million at online gambling sites on an annual basis.
The government remains hopeful that its slow-moving new legislation on online gambling will come into effect this summer although there are market doubts that this is achievable. The current laws date back 50 years, before the advent of the Internet.
The Telegraaf reported back in April last year that more than 200 companies have expressed an interest in a licence to offer online gambling in the Netherlands. Gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit estimates people in the Netherlands spend between Euro 250 million and Euro 800 million on illegal online gambling every year.
The draft proposals also state the licence holders will have to contribute to a special fund to help gambling addicts. In addition, there will be a national register of players who break self-imposed limits and will be banned from playing.