Germany’s controversial 5.3% turnover tax on online slots and poker received the approval of the parliament earlier this week.
German Parliament Approves 5.3% Tax on Online Slots and Poker
Back in March of this year, Germany’s new State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) was approved by lawmakers. Since then, the new regulation has received the approval of all federal states in Germany. Set to come into effect on July 1, the new State Treaty on Gambling would legalize online casino games, but not everyone is excited.
Although the legalization is long-awaited, the new treaty comes with restrictions as well. Under the treaty, a $1.19 (€1) stake limit per spin is introduced for online slots. Furthermore, earlier this week, the Bundestag voted in favor of a stake tax, which already proved to be controversial. The stake tax which is also referred to as turnover tax introduces a 5.3% tax on all online poker and slot stakes. In addition, the tax plans to affect both licensed gambling, as well as unlicensed operators.
During the vote of the controversial tax, lawmakers from Die Linke refrained from placing a vote. On the other hand, representatives from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) voted against the stake tax. In the end, the tax received the approval of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Green Party. As a result, the controversial tax was approved.
Not Everyone Agrees with the Newly Approved Tax
Although the new turnover tax received the approval of the German parliament, a recent online survey discovered that the proposed level of stake tax may push a lot of players to offshore operators. The study conducted by Goldmedia on behalf of Entain, Flutter Entertainment and Greentube in April interviewed 619 online slot players. Of that total, 49% admitted that they would choose an alternative option via an unregulated website. Furthermore, 54% of the players that participated in the survey responded that the payout percentage is the most important factor when choosing a gambling website.
Besides the worrying results of the survey, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has also spotted an issue with the tax. EGBA filed a complaint with the EU back in May, saying that the turnover tax is illegal. Furthermore, the Association suggested that the controversial tax may be favoring brick-and-mortar casinos over online gambling.