Dutch Top government advisory body criticises online gambling plans

Top government advisory body criticises online gambling plans.
The Dutch government's plan to launch legalised online gambling in the Netherlands next year has hit what may be a speed bump.
The newspaper Dutch News reports that the most senior advisory body in the government, the Council of State, has voiced concerns over the Justice Ministry's plan for regulation and the abandonment of the state monopoly on gambling.
The Council's concerns are centred on:
* Uncertainty that a licensed and regulated market will persuade Dutch punters to switch from illegal online operators to licensed and regulated operators (the government has expressed the hope that 80 percent will eschew illegal sites when regulation is implemented next year). The Council says it has not been given sufficient evidence to convince it that this is likely;
* Concerns that the new laws will not meet European Commission requirements;
* Questions on the "beneficial" tax rate that is envisaged for online operators (20 percent instead of the land gambling tax of 29 percent).
The Council, which makes recommendations on all Dutch draft legalization, has therefore urged government to reconsider its proposals.
Dutch legalization has taken an inordinately long time to debate and draft (see previous InfoPowa reports) and the Council's opinion could further slow progress down.