Tue. Oct 4th, 2022

23 September 2022

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an amendment to a Dutch horse riding betting scheme in force since 1949. Under the scheme, part of the proceeds of bets on horse races are transferred to two Dutch horse racing associations, SNDR and KBB, in order to support horse race organisers and the equine sector as a whole.

The amendments to the scheme

(i) extended the scope of the scheme to online bets, following the legalisation of online gambling by the Netherlands on 1 April 2021 and

(ii) changed the methodology of calculating the aid amount per beneficiary.

As the proposed methodology change, which will be in place for 7 years, will lead to a decrease in revenues for SNDR and KBB, the Netherlands also notified a €3.2 million transition subsidy for a 4-year period to partially compensate the two associations for the revenues lost.

This transition subsidy is estimated to cover around 75% of the estimated loses. The Commission assessed the measures under EU State aid rules, and in particular under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which enables Member States to support the development of certain economic activities under certain conditions.

The Commission found that the measures are necessary and appropriate

(i) to ensure the viability of the two racing association, and

(ii) to promote the development of horse racing and linked economic activities, such as horse breeding.

Furthermore, the Commission concluded that the measures are proportionate, as they are limited to the minimum necessary, and have a limited impact on competition and trade between Member States. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under case numbers SA.62808 and SA.62810 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.