February 05, 2021
According to reports from CasinoNieuws.nl, hundreds of Dutch poker players will receive years of paid gaming taxes on PokerStars.
After a long back and forth battle with the Dutch tax authorities, Dutch poker players are being reimbursed millions in taxes paid on the world’s leading online poker site.
According to the current Dutch Gambling Act from 1964, poker is considered a form of gambling. Poker players in the Netherlands pay a monthly gambling tax on winnings made during this period, including poker. However, in 2015 the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that players on poker sites within the EU are exempt from these taxes. Since 2012, players in the Netherlands have been using PokerStars.eu to access PokerStars.
PokerStars.eu: Isle of Man or Malta?
The determination of the official place of business for PokerStars.eu has been the kicker throughout the legal war. The Dutch tax authorities favored PokerStars.eu being located on the Isle of Man outside the EU, while the Dutch poker group named Malta as the official headquarters of PokerStars.eu. After the lower courts had issued different judgments on the matter and the Supreme Court had allowed each judgment, a rush of individual cases emerged in tons of smaller courts.
To avoid having to argue over hundreds of cases, the Dutch tax authorities offered a settlement agreement to reimburse all taxes paid on poker winnings with stars over the past nine years. The settlement was offered to attorney Pepijn Le Heux, who represented a group of around 130 players, including some of the best Dutch. It is expected to be offered to other player legal counsel in the near future.
Jorryt van Hoof, # 1 on Hendon Mob’s Dutch all-time money list
While the settlement PokerStars.eu officially recognizes as being located in Malta, PokerStars.fr, a French skin that was open to Dutch players in previous years, decided to have their headquarters on the Isle of Man instead of France. As part of the settlement, Dutch poker players must agree to officially pay taxes on their PokerStars.fr winnings. This compromise is expected to be acceptable to most of the players represented, with the majority of them signing the deal.
Frank Op de Woerd from CasinoNieuws welcomed the new agreement and said: “I am glad that after such a long time there is an agreement on the table that is beneficial for the majority of poker players. That closes a chapter that I assume that most poker players accept the agreement even though they have to pay tax on their PokerStars.fr winnings. “
New remote gaming law in 2021
Online poker sites are currently facing severe restrictions to operate their gaming business in the Netherlands. However, sites like PokerStars and partypoker stayed open to the Dutch over the years, while others like GGPoker and Winamax chose to pull out of the market entirely.
Since the official place of business is important to the courts, Brexit has also affected the current gambling taxation in the Netherlands. Both partypoker and 888poker in Gibraltar officially left the EU on January 1st and are affected by Dutch law. While PokerStars is now tax-free, these two sites travel the other way. Dutch players are now subject to game taxes at both locations regardless of this agreement.
Fortunately for the now non-EU operators, the distorted landscape won’t last long. April 1st. In 2021, a new remote gaming law will replace the archaic law from the 1960s that allows all poker sites to officially apply for a license. All major operators are expected to be among those keen to break into the market.
Tax liability will shift from gamblers to operators under the new law, providing gamblers with a tax-free gambling environment and likely preventing lengthy cases like this from happening again.