A new tax proposal in the Netherlands may have
thrown a monkey wrench into plans to regulate the country’s online gambling
On Tuesday, Dutch media reported that members of the ruling
parliamentary coalition had introduced amendments to the proposed Remote
Gaming Bill that would tax online gambling operators at 29% of gross gaming
revenue, the same rate levied on land-based operators such as Holland
This proposal runs counter to the government’s stated plan
of taxing online operators at 20% of gambling revenue. The government
had justified this lower rate as being necessary to encourage a majority of
Dutch punters to choose to wager with Dutch-licensed sites rather than seek out
more cost-competitive options from internationally licensed operators.
The Telegraaf newspaper reported that members of
the VVD and PvdA coalition parties jointly submitted the new tax proposals to
the legislature’s lower house, the Tweede Kamer. The legislators argue that if
the government is correct about the regulated market’s ability to boost
gambling revenue, the online tax rate would be reduced to 25% three years after
the market liberalizes.
Progress on passing the Remote Gaming Bill has been
glacially slow, but the Tweede Kamer was expected to schedule a vote sometime
in Q1 2016, although the surprise tax amendment could further gum up the works.
Online lobby groups have already gone on record as saying the 20% tax was
too high to ensure operators a reasonable rate of return.
Despite these concerns, the government has reportedly
received expressions of interest from numerous online operators apparently
eager to avoid the punitive fines being levied against international
operators by Dutch gaming regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA). A recent survey
suggested the Dutch online gambling market was worth far more than