The politicians in Ireland have been haggling over the imposition of an online gambling tax on operators for the past three years, but it appears that implementation is imminent, reports the Irish Examiner newspaper.
Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan says that tax revenue of around Euro 25 million will be garnered by the new tax on online gambling transactions which targets foreign-based bookmakers that provide remote gambling services to Irish punters.
Around Euro 1.6 billion annually is gambled online in Ireland, with most of the profits going to overseas enterprises that enjoy a relatively tax- free regime in Ireland.
Noonan has earmarked around Euro 11 million for capital investment in Ireland’s ailing horse racing and greyhound racing industries.
“In recognition of the importance of the Irish bloodstock industry to the rural economy and the anticipated yield of Euro 25 million per annum from betting duty, the Government will be providing an additional Euro 6 million a year for three years to the fund for horse and greyhound racing,” the minister told the Irish parliament recently.
“The Government is also allocating additional capital of Euro 5 million to Horse Racing Ireland in 2015 to leverage investment in race courses.”
The Examiner claims that Noonan’s Betting (Amendment) Bill 2013 is now imminent and will require remote bookmakers and betting exchanges providing betting services to Irish punters to obtain a licence in Ireland, regardless of whether or not they have any physical presence in the country.
They will also be liable to pay tax on betting transactions with Irish customers.
Noonan’s bill will regulate the remote bookmakers and betting exchanges, and seeks to provide for a fair and equal treatment of all bookmakers, traditional and remote, and betting exchanges offering services in Ireland.
A Paddy Power spokesman supported the bill this week, commenting:
“We have worked closely with the authorities in Ireland on the Betting (Amendment) Bill – ensuring that there is a level playing pitch for all companies who operate in the Irish marketplace irrespective of whether they are based in Ireland or not.”