The lower chamber of parliament in Holland recently passed a bill to reform the gambling laws. It is expected that the Dutch Remote Gambling Act will be passed into law. Since being written up in 2013, the act has been at the center of conversation in parliament.
The previous gaming laws are over a half-century old, and these new regulations will be updated to fit with the laws of the European Union. Holland has a huge potential for gaming. It has been estimated that roughly 1.5 million adults in Holland gamble online through offshore markets since there is no such thing as a licensed gaming site in Holland.
The Holland Casino has projected that a regulation of gaming sites in Holland could be generate a 1 billion euro gross profit per year.
The Dutch government is known to be lenient with gray market casino operators, despite warnings that these gray markets are a ticking time bomb or, “playing with fire,” according to Fred Treeven, who is the Secretary of State for Justice. Despite this online poker sites are quietly accepting Dutch players. However, upon this bill becoming law, it has been predicted that sites like PokerStars would stop accepting these players and seek to get a Dutch License to operate in Holland legally.
It can be expected that the bill will pass with a high taxation rate of 29% for the operators of these casinos. The goal here is to draw the 1.5 million Dutch online gamblers away from the offshore markets upon regulation. The original bill proposed a 20% taxation rate, however it has now been revised to 29%. This has been cause for concern because at 29% it will be difficult for new Dutch regulated online gaming companies to compete with the offshore and untaxed markets due to a lack of revenue.
Gray Markets Become Black
Upon the passing of the Dutch Remote Gambling Act any offshore market that serves Holland will no longer be catorgorized as a gray market. It will become an illegal black market and would make it impossible for casinos like PokerStars to continue to operate without putting their operations licenses in jeopardy. A
The proposed tax rate of 29% puts Holland at a disadvantage and it is likely it will become another failed online gaming market, just like Spain, France, and Italy before them. Only time will tell what happens, but for now, it is projected to fail up on being passed into law.