September 22, 2014

Dutch state lottery open to abuse; state tipped off lottery about investigation

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 7:57 pm

[Photo of children wearing inflatable crowns]The Greek firm that runs the lottery for Staatsloterij (the Dutch state lottery) is susceptible to fraud, Volkskrant writes.

Several former employees of the company, called Intralot, told the newspaper last Saturday that they are capable of removing lottery numbers from the draw. Since this would happen after Staatsloterij has sold the tickets, this doesn’t change the amount of money that can be won, but it does change the chances each player has of winning. As long as the same percentage of winners is distributed equally across regions, ages, and so on as the percentage of players, Staatsloterij has no way of knowing if tickets have been doctored and if so, which ones.

Gambling is strictly regulated in the Netherlands, a monopoly kept by the government under the guise of protecting citizens from addiction.

An investigation has been started into the vulnerability by the Dutch gambling authority. Due to an unfortunate accident the Ministry of Finance tipped off Staatsloterij before the investigation started, Volkskrant adds in a second article. As the Dutch saying goes, ‘where people work hard, people make mistakes’. Other examples of instances where the government made mistakes are the two black boxes that disappeared from the site of the Bijlmer disaster and the lost film of the Srebrenica massacre. Do you know of any other country where the government works this hard?

(Photo of young children wearing colourful inflatable Staatsloterij crowns by Orangemaster)

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January 1, 2011

Winner new year’s lottery has to pay income tax twice

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 3:50 pm

The Dutch revenue service (Belastingdienst) has announced that the winner of the Staatsloterij Jackpot will have to pay income tax over these winnings for both 2010 and 2011.

Since 2001 the Dutch income tax is divided into three parts, a tax on wages, a tax on business interests (including dividends), and a tax on savings and investments. The latter category is calculated by taking the money you own on December 31 and the money you own on January 1 of that same year, and halving it. You then pay a one percent tax on the resulting average, the idea being that an average person should be able to realize a profit each year on their savings of investments of 4%, which is essentially a sort of income.

The tax service takes its own formulas very serious and figures that since the prize is won in the dying seconds of 2010, the winner also has to pay this tax on savings over 2010, even if they have not been able to collect and enjoy the prize.

Tax law professor Ruben Freudenthal has been quizzing his students for years on exactly this eventuality, and sides with the Belastingdienst. He told Financieel Dagblad: “Right after the draw the lottery ticket becomes valuable. You could sell it to somebody else.”

The 2010 lottery had a jackpot worth 27.5 million euro. The 2010 tax would amount to 137,500 euro.

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