EGBA Submits Complaint to EU Commission

In response to the German Bundesrat’s proposal to implement a 5.3% tax on online poker and slots bets, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has submitted a formal state aid complaint to the European Commission.

The trade association believes that the tax would be in breach of EU state aid rules, as it would only apply to online operators. This would result in online slots and poker in Germany being taxed at a rate that is four to five times higher than land-based gambling operations.

In the past the EGBA, which represents Europe’s largest betting operators, has warned that the suggested online tax would give a significant and unfair advantage to Germany’s land-based gambling operations. For example, in Bavaria, the tax would result in online slots and poker bets being taxed at a rate 4 to 5 times higher than in land casinos, and a rate 15 times higher than the slots available in land-based amusement arcades. This would mean a huge tax advantage of €290 million annually for the state’s land-based establishments.

It is the EGBA’s belief that according to EU laws this is illegal state aid. Furthermore, it has estimated that this illegal aid for land-based gambling venues across Germany would be as much as €741 million annual if the tax is approved.

Maarten Haijer, the Secretary General of EGBA, said that the organization has previously highlighted the issue to German authorities but with no effect, so it is now up to them to justify the tax under EU law.

Maarten Haijer EGBA Secretary General

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. 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.

Maarten HaijerEGBA Secretary General

About the European Gaming and Betting Association

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is a Brussels-based trade association that represents the EU’s online gambling operators, including many of the industry’s biggest names. It works with national and EU regulator authorities to help build a well-regulated market that offers a high level of consumer protection. For more information contact [email protected]

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