Tuesday July 9,2013 : IMPORTANT DATE FOR ONLINE GAMBLING IN IRELAND
Cabinet to consider levy bill today
Today (Tuesday) could be an important landmark for online gambling in Ireland as the Cabinet considers a law that will see the 1 percent land betting levy expanded to cover internet gambling activity. The cash-strapped Irish government hopes this will bring in an extra Euro 17 million later this year.
The Irish Times reports that today's measure paves the way for the government to tax online gambling, and could go into effect before the end of 2013.
It has always been government's intention to extend the hitherto land bookie levy to the online environment, but the progress of the bill has been bedevilled by delays and debate.
If the Cabinet is happy with the Betting Amendment Bill it will be sent to the European Commission for approval, which could take up to three months. If the EC approves the measure, it will then go before the Irish Parliament to be voted into law.
Horse Racing Ireland and the Greyhound Board, the state entities that oversee horse and dog racing in Ireland, both want the extra cash raised to be allocated to the state-administered Horse and Greyhound Fund, on which they partly rely for finance. Grants to the scheme have fallen from Euro 61 million in 2008 to Euro 44 million this year.
A Government-commissioned report by economic consultants Indecon last year estimated that total betting turnover in the Republic of Ireland came to Euro 4.365 billion, implying that extending the tax to online betting would come close to making up the shortfall in support for the racing bodies.
However, bookmakers such as Boylesports and Paddy Power have warned that enforcement will be critical, as a failure to impose the levy on overseas operators active in the Irish market would put Irish-based firms at a competitive disadvantage.
Paddy Power has estimated that the new tax could cost it about Euro 6 million a year. Ladbrokes, the biggest overseas operator in the Irish market, has already indicated it would comply with the law.