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Poker news | Mar 26, 2021

Dutch Online Poker Players Receiving Millions in Taxes Back After Court Case

By RTR Dennis

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Over 100 Dutch online poker players have been fighting with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration for years. Now, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief after winning their case. They’re collectively set to receive millions back in taxes paid on PokerStars winnings.

Why Were Dutch Poker Players Forced to Pay These Taxes in the First Place?

Written in 1964, the Betting and Gambling Act states that poker is a form of gambling rather than a skill-based game. Therefore, players are supposed to pay monthly gambling taxes on all poker winnings.

In 2015, though, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that all play on EU-based online poker sites is exempt from taxation. This ruling means that any Dutch player who accessed PokerStars.eu shouldn’t technically need to cover their taxes.

The Netherlands’ tax authority argued that PokerStars is based on the Isle of Man, which isn’t part of the European Union. The players, however, were able to successfully argue that PokerStars.eu runs out of Malta—an EU member.

Settlement Is Made

Sensing a tough battle ahead, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration offered to settle with players who were part of the case. They proposed to reimburse all taxes on winnings accrued from PokerStars since 2012—when PokerStars.eu officially launched. Pepijn Le Heux, the lawyer serving the 130 players involved in this case, officially received the settlement offer.

As part of the settlement, Dutch poker players will need to cover taxes on anything earned from PokerStars.fr. The French version was available to players from The Netherlands at one point.

Courts decided that the .fr domain does operate out of the Isle of Man. Therefore, winnings from PokerStars.fr aren’t exempt from taxation. The group of 130 players seems fine with this part of the deal.

The Netherlands Market Is Quite Strict

Netherlands’ regulations haven’t been overly kind to players or operators. Regarding the latter, some major sites, like Stars and partypoker, have hung around and dealt with these stiff regulations. Others, such as Winamax and GGPoker, have left due to the restrictive market.

Other happenings in Europe are only making Dutch online poker murkier. Brexit caused the UK and, subsequently, Gibraltar to leave the EU. Now, Dutch players will need to cover taxes on winnings through Gibraltar-based poker sites like 888poker.

Changes Are Coming

Luckily, things are about to get better for Dutch online poker players. The Betting and Gambling Act of 1964 will soon be replaced by the Remote Gaming Law.

The latter will let more online poker rooms apply for licensing in the country. It’ll also move tax liabilities away from players and towards the poker sites.

That said, the Netherlands will probably never have to deal with a messy poker tax case like this again. Meanwhile, those who were affected can now rejoice if they were playing and winning on PokerStars.eu.