The European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA) has made public its formal complaint to the European Commission (EC) in response to the German Bundesrat’s proposal to levy a 5.3 percent tax on online poker and slot machine wagers.
The Brussels-based trade organisation had earlier urged the Bundesrat to scrap the proposed tax charge, which had been found to be in violation of EU state assistance standards.
As things stand, Germany’s Bundesländer (state governments) have until June 7 to ratify the divisive tax charge that would be enacted as a federal condition of the country’s Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStV).
‘differentiated tax treatment’
The EGBA reiterates its previous warning to the Bundesrat that it will seek all options to end the ‘differentiated tax treatment,’ which will give Germany’s land-based gaming businesses a ‘substantial and unfair’ tax advantage.
EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer said: “We have previously made our concerns about the tax proposal known to the German authorities but to no avail and they will now need to justify the measure under EU law.”
Germany’s Länder must agree on the GlüNeuRStV’s final tax system by July 1, with the goal of launching Germany’s new federal gambling regime on that day.
The European Commission has demanded the Bundesrat to explain how their tax levy differs from a state aid action that is illegal under EU commercial rules.
DSWW and DOCV
The German online gaming trade groups DSWV (sports betting) and DOCV (online casino) have joined the EC complaint.
“We appreciate the efforts made in recent years towards introducing a new online gambling regulation in the country and recognise that an appropriate tax will need to be paid by online gambling operators, ” added Haijer.
“However, the rate of the proposed tax is punitively high and will distort market competition and directly benefit Germany’s land-based gambling establishments over their online counterparts. We call on German politicians to rethink the proposed tax rate and bring it closer in line with the tax rate applied to online casino products in other EU countries.”