Kindred Group wins Belgium digital VAT repeal

Stockholm-listed Kindred Group Plc has disclosed that it has secured a favourable ruling by Belgium’s Constitutional Court relating to its repeal of VAT charges on online gambling activities.

Since 2016, Kindred has fought to repeal the Belgian government’s 2016 industry amendment, which demanded that licensed online operators pay an additional 21% VAT charge for their Belgian services.

Challenging the Belgian government, Kindred governance has maintained that the VAT charge is an unfair policy to impose on digital operators as Belgian legacy gambling verticals (lotteries and land-based casinos) had been exempted from the VAT provision.

Furthermore, the Stockholm enterprise detailed that the Belgian government had undermined its original 2010 gambling policy objectives, by creating a VAT policy that would result in a ‘lower channelisation’, leading to a decline in consumer protections.

Last week, the Constitutional Court sided with Kindred governance, cancelling the VAT provision on the grounds that the policy was incompatible with Belgium’s national gambling framework objectives.

Kindred governance welcomed the decision stating that it ‘remains a strong advocate of sustainable regulation based upon a borderless digital market and channelling consumer demand to licensed offerings.’

In 2017, a number of political parties have pressed for the Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC), to introduce a tougher advertising and promotional code for online gambling services.

Calls for tougher industry amendments to be introduced are primarily led by Belgium’s Christian Democrat CDV party, seeking to introduce a nation-wide ‘five-point mandate’ to limit industry advertising coverage.

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