European Lotteries seminar throws up taxation & regulation challenges

European Lotteries
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Lottery organisation European Lotteries recently chaired a seminar in Brussels to discuss the importance of taxation as a tool to regulate gambling.

Hosted by Loterie Nationale Loterij, the Belgian National Lottery, the seminar was attended by legal experts in the EL membership on May 12-13.

One of the contributors at the event was Filip Smet, Director of the Tax Dispute Resolution team at Deloitte, who proposed taxation as an instrument for regulation, where the main functions of taxation include financial, redistribution and regulatory.

Smet asserted that operators, not players, should remain the ones liable, but he suggested greater cooperation to enforce taxes, with EU and international taxation rules offering ‘great opportunities’ for tax as a tool for regulation.

Meanwhile, Philippe Vlaemminck, EL’s Legal Advisor, focused his presentation on gambling taxation and case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), highlighting that the fundamental tax rule in gambling is that there is no discrimination between the treatment of national gambling services and winning, and foreign services and winning.

Pieter Remmers, Secretary General of the European Association for the Study of Gambling, concluded the first day events by advancing taxation as an important vehicle in enhancing responsible play.

The following day, Thomas van Ditzhuijsen, Tax Lawyer at KPMG Meijburg, focused on lottery taxation systems in the EU, including the responsibility for cross border players to be tax compliant.

There was also time to reflect on potential changes to the system ahead as Giuseppe Pelle, Institutional Relations Manager at IGT Lottery and Executive Chair of the EL Taskforce on Illegal Gambling, considered whether a new taxation could be a tool in the fight against illegal operators in the industry.

Concluding, an EL statement read: “EL Members consider that taxation is an important lever that can be used to lower the attractiveness of gambling products and thus to protect players (among other high pay-outs and increased levels of addictiveness connected to these high-level pay-out levels).

“Taxation is a dossier that will be followed closely by EL.”