Dutch online gambler to keep winnings

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Woman who won EUR 4.3 million in a virtual slot machine will 'likely' not have her winnings seized as criminal proceeds.

The Hague –  A Dutch woman who won EUR 4.3 million on a virtual slot machine will likely be allowed to keep her winnings despite a ban on online gambling, the government said Wednesday.

According to the gambling firm Unibet, the 33-year-old winner from the central province of Utrecht is ready to pay a big chunk of the prize won on Sunday to the taxman who seems ready to accept the cash.

"About EUR 1.1 million will go to the taxman, with the rest I want to make my family happy," a Unibet statement quoted the unnamed woman as saying, describing her reaction as one of "disbelief, surprise, but mainly joy."

The Dutch justice ministry said online betting was illegal in the Netherlands, as was the practice of foreign gambling companies offering any services on the Dutch market.

"This is a clear contravention of the gambling law," spokesman Ivo Hommes told AFP.

An investigation into the activities of Unibet, founded in 1997 and listed on the Stockholm stock exchange, was ongoing, he added.

The ministry had recently warned Dutch banks not to facilitate financial transactions involving Unibet or other 'illegal' operators.

Hommes could not say what would happen if the woman put her money in a Dutch account, apart from saying: "She will have to pay tax, whether the money comes into the country legally or illegally."

It was "unlikely," he said, that the money would be seized as criminal proceeds.

About 400,000 Dutch citizens, 3.8 percent of internet users, gamble on illegal sites and spend between EUR 90 million and 280 million per year, according to the ministry.

AFP / Expatica

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