Dutch law proposal on internet gambling approved

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Today, the Upper House agreed to the Lower House's proposal to the proceeds of gambling on the Internet to eliminate tax, even if the supply of these games on the Internet involve gambling illegally. This is an amendment to the current law regarding the gaming tax on wagers made via the Internet.

The law proposal is accepted without a member vote, the SP being the only party against the proposal. Central to this decision was whether by levying a tax on illegal gambling via the Internet, these activities are actually not just being permitted but the speech by Secretary De Jager also raised the question of whether the tax will distinguish between legal and illegal providers.

The proposal must mean equal tax treatment, also called the principle of fiscal neutrality. Attempts by SP MP Reuten to raise other concerns amongst his colleagues failed. The SP is more concerned with the criminal prosecution of illegal gaming providers.

MP Biermans (VVD) noted that taxes on illegal activities had already been carried out since immemoriable time. The VVD MP held its SP MP colleague Reuten to account, stating that the SP Group had already voiced approval with the proposal before the Lower House voted on the bill. Reuten pointed out that time and again this had happened in other contexts: the Lower House has also agreed to a trial period of legal gambling via the Internet. This bill was rejected in the Upper House in April this year, as a result, all gambling on the Internet in the Netherlands remained illegal.

The question now is how the bill will work in practice. Which steps will be taken to banned foreign providers of gambling on the Internet in the Netherlands, are not currently clear. So there are still many unknowns about what is and is not illegal. A Dutch player can be aboard a plane, or other form of transport, making a wager on his laptop legally with a foreign bookmaker but as soon as the same plane crosses the border into the Netherlands the website shuts down as it is deemed illegal in the Netherlands. How the tax returns that players must legally pay on profit on 'illegal gambling' in the Netherlands which is deemed legal in foreign countries and how the tax from the foreign operators of gambling can be collected and by whom is still quite unclear.

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