Dutch online gambling bill could get delayed

The bill still has a significant number of unanswered questions that are making it difficult for it to be voted.

Netherlands.- Back in July, the Dutch Lower House approved a bill to legalise and regulate online gambling in the country, and the industry was ready for it to be passed in early 2017. Almost five months later, there are still questions unanswered about the bill.

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to the bill is related to the fact that it’s still uncertain if 80 percent of Dutch players are going to use the services of online poker sites holding a national license despite the current bill offering higher taxes, and that the regulator doesn’t have the capacity to block foreign DNS and IP addresses from online poker sites. Furthermore, another unanswered question lays on the fact that the bill does not include online lotteries and that the taxes for sports betting are different in land-based and online markets.

Initially the tax rate was stated at 20 percent of the GGR for poker sites, but after a comparisons with land-based poker rooms, the Lower House eventually approved a bill that includes a 29 percent tax rate for online operators as well. Online poker operators believe that the high tax rates are unattractive for the online sector, and that this would led to smaller attractions for players, along with smaller profits for the companies.

Justin Franssen, a lawyer that supports the bill said: “A majority of senators are quite happy about the bill. Its success, however, depends greatly on whether it will be passed before the introduction of the new Parliament as elections are slated for March 2017.” On the other hand, gaming consultant Eric van Vondelen said that he believes that it is impossible for it to be debated and voted this year.