It’s the news that many Dutch players were waiting to hear for many years. After fighting for years, Dutch players who have previously been charged exorbitant tax charges on their poker winnings will have them repaid or written off if they were owed.
The world’s most popular poker site, PokerStars, is the related site in question and after many years of waiting, according to Casino News in Holland (www.casinonieuws.nl) the battle has finally been won and players will be able to play without worrying about their winnings being taxed, as is the case for almost all European players.
The story, which was reported directly here, revealed that the backdated tax repayments will be worth millions to hundreds of players who were taxed on their winnings.
This was a situation that went right back to the early part of the last decade. We personally knew one Dutch player – who will remain unnamed – who was not aware of this fact at first and spent years discussing this law with the authorities, unsure of the consequences of perfectly innocent actions.
While Dutch players will be able to celebrate – and not worry about being chased for taxes on their winnings – this puts the onus for tax payments onto the operator, which will have a knock-on effect on players if the economy doesn’t stay robust. This is now the hope for Dutch poker, and not least for the many talented players who live and play in the country.
Accessing PokerStars via the .eu suffix, Dutch players have been exempt for some time from paying taxes, since a Dutch Supreme Court ruling five years ago.
For many years, poker has always been seen as gambling, and therefore taxable, from as far back as 1964. The point of conflict, was, for many years, where poker was based. If it was on the Isle of Man (PokerStars headquarters is located on this island) then it was outside the EU and therefore taxable. If it was Malta, however, it would be exempt from such financial restrictions.
The victory this week for poker to be declared as based in Malta is a watershed moment for Dutch players, hundreds of whom either owed money or were owed money from way back. No longer is there a need to travel and reside in Mexico, Canada or many other locations where players enjoy more freedom to take on others at the felt. While PokerStars.fr (France’s ‘Stars lobby’) will still tax Dutch players, it’s likely they’ll simply choose to avoid it, sticking to .eu and more sustainable profit, which for professional players is vital to the lifeblood of the game on many levels.
PokerNews reached out to CasinoNieuws’ owner Frank Op de Woerd, who for many years worked high up at PokerNews on their content and management side. He expressed his relief on the back of the decision being made.
“I’m glad that after such a long period of time, there is now an agreement on the table that is favorable to the bulk of poker players,” he said. “This closes a chapter that has been going on for so long. I expect most poker players to accept the agreement, although they will have to pay taxes on their PokerStars.fr winnings.”
The future is back in the hands of the players in Holland and rightly so. Whether this proves a watershed moment that opens up other territories to this sort of ruling, we can only hope, but one thing is for sure – many Dutch players will remember this decision for a long time.