Dutch trade body calls for tax hike reversal

3 April 2019

Frits Huffnagel, chairman of Dutch gambling trade body Van Kansspelen Branche-organisatie, has called on a temporary gambling tax increase to be reversed after the country revealed an €11bn (£9.4bn/$12.4bn) budget surplus for 2018.

The 2018 surplus – equivalent to 1.5% of the Netherlands’ gross domestic product – came after an increase from 29% to 30.1% of gross gaming revenue was introduced in July last year.

Under the country’s Remote Gaming Act, which was finally approved in February by the Senate upper house of the Dutch legislature some five years after it had been introduced by the House of Representatives, operators will eventually be taxed at 29.1% of GGR.

However, with the first licences not expected to be awarded until the middle of next year at the earliest, and in light of the country’s healthy balance sheet for 2018, Huffnagel (pictured) insisted there is no reason why the temporary tax increase cannot be reversed “as quickly as possible, but no later than January 1, 2020”.

He added that, given the budget surplus, “this unfair tax increase was therefore not necessary to ensure central government could balance the books”.

Huffnagel, in a meeting with Van Kansspelen members, said that it was in State Secretary for Finance Menno Snel’s powers to reverse the tax hike, which had contributed a total of €20m towards the country’s surplus.

Under current plans, the temporary increase will only be reversed on January 1, 2021 – six months after the Netherlands’ Remote Gaming Act is set to come into force.

“It was already unreasonable and unfair, and it now appears to be unnecessary,” Huffnagel added.

“Providers have been paying for two years for political dawdling and the premature behaviour of the State Secretary for Finance. It is now a natural moment to reverse the increase. By doing this, providers will also have the necessary financial headroom to meet the strict new requirements.”

Van Kansspelen lists 102 members on its website, including slot machine manufacturers, lotteries, casinos and online providers.

Van Kansspelen is a member of Euromat, the European Gaming and Amusement Federation.

Image: Euromat