In response to a motion by Heerema and Mutluer Members of Parliament (MPs), the Netherlands’ Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind, has revealed that it was impossible for specific policy goals, such as problem gambling prevention, to draw direct benefit from additional online gambling revenues. He further explained that, in 2024, the results of the evaluation of the country’s Remote Gambling Act (Wet Kansspelen op afstand, or KOA) are set to show whether the piece of legislation has achieved its desired effect regarding contributions to sport.
Last year, Rudmer Heerema and Songül Mutluer MPs submitted a motion seeking to use the additional revenues accumulated from online gambling to prevent gambling-related harm and provide more money for sports. The proposal should replace the reduction in the country’s gambling tax that was previously revealed by the Netherlands.
According to one of the motion supporters, such a move would generate approximately €300 million, with both prevention of problem gambling and local sports set to receive up to 50% of the money.
The proposed measure was officially adopted in November 2022 after it received a large majority in the House of Representatives. Before getting the necessary support, Heerema MP was forced to amend the draft at Minister Weerwind’s request. Under the amendment, the previously established period was adjusted after the Netherlands’ Minister for Legal Protection found it unrealistic.
Current Budget Rules Prevent Additional Gambling Tax Revenue to Be Distributed to Specific Policy Goals
Now, Minister Weerwind responded to Heerema and Mutluer’s proposal regarding the additional returns from games of chance offered in the country. He explained that under the existing budget rules, additional tax on gambling revenues would not directly benefit specific policy goals.
The Minister for Legal Protection first discussed the ongoing evaluation of the Remote Gambling Act in terms of additional returns. He indicated that the bill stipulated that such evaluation would make clear a number of issues, including the distribution of additional gambling tax revenue from brick-and-mortar and remote gambling services; the success of gambling addiction care and prevention and the catering and arcades sector; money contributions to sports, etc.
Franc Weerwind revealed that the results of the KOA Act evaluation are set to be issued in 2024. Then, he discussed the chances of using additional revenues to fund sports on one hand, and gambling-related harm initiatives, on the other hand. The Minister for Legal Protection also noted that under the existing budget rules in the Netherlands, tax revenues, including additional gambling revenues, cannot be used as funding for certain policy goals.
The additional revenues that are expected to be generated in the form of gambling tax could be used as funding for more general resources that are used for Dutch society. Furthermore, Minister Weerwind explained that it is not the amount generated by the policy objectives that determine the ways in which the money is spent. Therefore, there has been a clear separation between the budget’s income and expenditure, and more money does not automatically mean more expenses for the Government.
Apart from that, the Minister also indicated that online casinos are not generally obliged to donate money either to sports or charity organizations under the provisions of the Remote Gambling Act.