Kindred Group triumphed in front of the Constitutional Court of Belgium on Thursday by overturning a 2016 provision that had required all online gaming operators to pay a 21% value-added tax on any services they offered to players in the small European nation.
Malta-headquartered Kindred Group was previously known as Unibet Group until a 2016 name-change and is responsible for numerous online casino and sports wagering domains including 32Red.com, Unibet.co.uk and MariaCasino.co.uk as well as the recently-launched VladCasino.ro.
Kindred Group had argued in front of the twelve-member Constitutional Court that Belgium’s imposition of a value-added tax on online gambling had been unfair because it also did not apply to the nation’s lotteries and land-based casinos. The operator moreover contended that the charge had undermined governmental policy objectives from 2010 and had created a tax regime that would result in lowered ‘channelization’ and reduced customer protections.
“Kindred Group yesterday received a positive ruling in the Belgian Constitutional Court cancelling the imposed value-added tax on online gambling,” read a Friday statement from Kindred Group. “Kindred Group remains committed to sustainable regulation and sees the ruling as positive for consumer protection.”
The online operator also declared that the current ‘better offer one click away’ environment means that its locally-licensed domains must be able to provide customers with ‘services of equivalent value’ to those being offered by its global competitors. It additionally stated that the Constitutional Court’s ruling had pointed out the ‘inherent incompatibility’ between tax revenue and consumer protection objectives, especially if iGaming channels are treated differently to their land-based counterparts.
“Kindred Group remains a strong advocate of sustainable regulation based upon a borderless digital market and channeling consumer demand to licensed offerings,” read the statement from Kindred Group. “We look forward to working with national and international policy makers and regulators to ensure gaming policy is sustainable and fact based.”