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Dutch igaming operators sound alarm over reported gambling tax hike

The Dutch Online Gambling Association has “grave concerns” about reports that tax increases are planned by a coalition of parties.

The Netherlands.- The Dutch Online Gambling Association (NOGA) has reacted with alarm following reports that a potential new coalition government plans to raise gambling tax in the Netherlands.

After six months of negotiations, the Party for Freedom (PVV) says it has agreed a basis to form a coalition government with the Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the New Social Contract party (NSC) and the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB). A proposed “budgetary appendix of coalition agreements” mentions a “structural taxation increase” in gambling tax to 37.8 per cent​​”.

NOGA general director Peter-Paul de Goeij said the proposal “endangers the viability of the legal Dutch gambling market,” noting that reports suggest that channelisation to licensed operators is levelling off.

De Goeij said: “This is extremely risky, knowing that illegal parties do not pay taxes and are not bound to the duty of care as prescribed by Dutch legislation and regulations, are already pushing for the business of Dutch consumers.”

He added: “NOGA fears that the intended budgetary gain of €200m will be in stark contrast to the significant social damage that will occur because Dutch consumers increasingly resort to illegal providers, who do not pay taxes.”

Meanwhile, the Dutch Advisory Board on Regulatory Burden (ATR), an independent watchdog that monitors regulatory burdens on businesses, consumers and the public sector, has questioned the need for proposed new regulations for online gambling. It suggests that the new requirements would represent an unnecessary technical burden for operators.

In April, a narrow majority of MPs in the Dutch House of Representatives have voted in favour of motions to ban online slots and to prohibit online gambling advertising. Other motions call for mandatory financial risk checks and identification for gambling. The votes do not mean that the measures will be adopted. Franc Weerwind, the minister for legal protection, will review the proposals and decide whether they should be approved.