Senior gaming lawyers in Europe are demanding tax reform across the continent to ensure that the regulated industry can successfully compete with the black market.
At the iGaming Super Show, held in June at Amsterdam’s RAI Conference Centre, five legal experts came together to examine the state of the market in multiple jurisdictions and speculate on the possibility of an ‘ideal’ tax system.
Tatjana Klaeser, partner at law firm Klaeser Avocat, lamented the regulatory quagmire potentially faced by operators in Belgium. She argued that recent proposals to add VAT to betting and gaming products – with the exception of the national lottery – could hinder the state’s efforts to stamp out the black market.
“If you look at the critics of this, they say, well actually this is destroying what we have been building so far – we have been trying to funnel players towards a legal market – and they’re perfectly right in that respect,” she said.
It is not really clear how this VAT can be calculated, and it could lead to double taxation
Highlighting the difficulties of applying VAT to betting services, Frieder Backu, partner with German law firm SSW Schneider Schiffer Weihermüller, said that the move was likely to amount to a turnover tax – placing huge burdens on operators to maintain their margins.
“It is not really clear how this VAT can be calculated, and it could lead to double taxation” he added. “There should be harmonisation of VAT across Europe, and there should be no need for double taxation agreements – but we now have a situation where the same product might be taxed twice in two different countries.”