KSA chair admits he is “sincerely concerned” over proposed tax hikes in final address

Chair of the Dutch regulator René Jansen says there will be a need to keep a “close eye” on black-market growth should new rate come into effect
The post KSA chair admits he is “sincerely concerned” over proposed tax hikes in final address first appeared on EGR Intel.  

Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) chair René Jansen has said he is “sincerely concerned” about the recently proposed gambling tax hikes.

In a blog post published on the KSA website, Jansen outlined the reasons behind his apprehension, just weeks after a right-wing coalition government proposal suggested raising GGR tax to 37.8% as part of its first budget.

The proposal was put forward by the Nationalist Party for Freedom, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, the New Social Contract and the Farmer–Citizen Movement, with the quartet due to form the next government by the end of the year.

Tax on GGR currently sits at 30.5% in the Netherlands, but the proposed increase forms part of the coalition’s budget and is anticipated to generate more than €202m. 

However, Jansen, who is preparing to part ways with the KSA after a six-year reign, has since had his say on the matter as well as addressing the “political uncertainty” the country faces.

Speaking at the Gaming in Holland conference yesterday, 6 June, in what will be one of his final speeches as KSA chair before he is succeeded by Michel Groothuizen on 1 July, the outgoing chief stressed that customer safety was the paramount concern for a regulated market.

He said: “My imminent departure is once again shrouded in political uncertainty. All of you will be aware of the current political climate and the uncertainties about the future of both land-based and online licensed gambling markets. 

“I must confess that I am sincerely concerned about the effects of proposals such as a hefty increase in gambling tax and the partial banning of remote gambling again.

“As a regulator, keeping our mission ‘Gambling safely’ in mind, we are convinced that players are far better off in a licensed market. Supervising compliance with legal obligations can only be realised with legal and licensed operators.

“Therefore, the KSA will keep a close eye on the channelisation rate and how it might be affected by upcoming regulation. We have heard your concerns about the rise of illegal offering on the Dutch market, and I want to assure you we take that threat seriously,” he added.

Elsewhere, Jansen also confirmed the establishment of a temporary Online Duty of Care department, designed to focus further on licensed firms’ actions in the Netherlands.

The KSA chair noted between 10 and 15 new staff will be added to the regulator to form the department, with plans to be operational by 1 September.

He explained: “The department will issue warning letters and take a ‘short and sharp hits’ approach, as well as impose significant sanctions and penalty procedures if necessary. 

“As you will no doubt understand, supervising operators’ compliance with their obligations is our top priority.”

The channelisation rate in the Netherlands has long been a topic of discussion, one which Jansen also touched on during his conference address.

Last summer, channelisation stood at 93%, but by turn of the calendar year the rate had decreased to 90%.

Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA) director Peter-Paul de Goeij explained that with the lack of consumer protection in place on the black market, a drop in the channelisation rate represented a “dangerous trend”.

Two months on, Jansen echoed a similar sentiment. He declared: “The KSA will keep a close eye on the channelisation rate and how it might be affected by upcoming regulation. 

“We have heard your concerns about the rise of illegal offering on the Dutch market, and I want to assure you we take that threat seriously. While intensifying our supervision on the duty of care, we will also keep on battling illegal offering and its enablers. 

“With a viable industry, a high channelisation rate and intensive attention to illegal offering, we can together ensure that gambling continues to be a source of genuine entertainment for almost all players.”

Meanwhile, 3 June saw the KSA confirm affordability checks and deposit limits would be implemented to improve customer safety.

Coming into effect from 1 October, young adults aged between 18 and 24 will be subject to checks from operators when trying to deposit more than €300 per month, while that limit rises to €700 for those above the age of 24.

Jansen discussed the responsibilities of the operators as part of these new limits and explained in further detail why they have been implemented.

He said: “As a result, operators must now contact the player upon reaching that threshold and carry out an affordability check if the player wants to exceed that amount.

“The reason why we are doing this is to curb excessive gambling behaviour and it is also an important measure in terms of preventing addiction.

“The real-time monitoring obligation has also been introduced and requires operators to intervene within an hour in the event of potentially excessive gambling behaviour.”

Former MP Groothuizen will take over the role of KSA chair from Jansen next month in a return to the sector, having played a key role in the establishment of the Dutch regulator in 2012.

The post KSA chair admits he is “sincerely concerned” over proposed tax hikes in final address first appeared on EGR Intel.

 

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