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DSWV warns Germany “destroying own work” with stake tax

| By Nosa Omoigui
Operator association der Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV) has criticised the 5.3% turnover tax set to come into effect with the country's State Treaty on Gambling, the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvetrag (GlüNeuRStv).

The tax – set at 5.3% of online poker and online slot turnover – was approved by the Bundestag earlier this week.

However the DSWV argues that the government is “jeopardizing the success of the new gambling regulation in Germany” with the inclusion of the tax, which will tax a customer’s individual stake rather than the operator’s earnings from slots and poker.

DSWV president Mathias Dahms said: “By taxing the individual stakes, the state asks the customer to pay for every single spin of the virtual slots – over and over again, every few seconds and even if the stakes come from previous winnings. There is a reason that all other EU countries have imposed an income tax on these games and not a gaming stake tax.”

This isn’t the DSWV’s first objection to the tax, having filed a complaint with the EU earlier this month. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) also voiced its concern and filed its own complaint, arguing that the turnover tax violates European law.

Dahms added: “When it comes to online gambling, Germany is turning the wrong way in tax policy in Europe. For years, the countries had struggled to find a compromise on the State Treaty on Gambling and to open up the online gambling markets in order to finally get this area under regulatory control. 

“Now the countries are destroying their own work with an over-tax regime for virtual machine games and online poker in the last meters. ”

The taxes will come into effect when Germany’s new online gambling framework becomes law on 1 July.

The new legislation will legalise online casino games in Germany for the first time, but impose certain restrictions, such as a €1 per spin stake limit for online slots.

Currently, operators may offer online casino games under a transition period, provided they keep to the rules of the new treaty. However, operators such as LeoVegas have said that this has had a major impact on revenue.

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