After much delay, the proposal for a new online gambling tax has finally been sent to the president to be signed into Irish law, according to finance minister, Michael Noonan.
New gaming tax for Ireland
Discussions about taxing online gambling operators first began in 2011, when a 1% tax on internet and telephone bets was suggested, bringing it in line with bets placed in physical high street shops. Mr Noonan has been trying introduce the tax for more than three years, as at present foreign-based bookmakers offering remote services to customers in Ireland don’t have to pay tax, meaning the country is potentially losing out on millions of euros in tax. Under the new law, introduced via the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2013, offshore operators will need to obtain a betting and gambling license in Ireland and will become liable for tax on any transactions with Irish customers, even if they don’t have a physical presence in the country. It is estimated that the new levy could raise as much as €25 million a year, but €11 million of that will be set aside for improving the horse and greyhound racing industry in Ireland. Online transactions accounts for almost 80% of Paddy Power’s revenues. Ireland’s biggest gambling company revealed that if the new tax had been in place for its latest financial figures, it would have cost around €8 million. The legislation has been delayed on a number of occasions, but it is now hoped that once signed into law, operators will be paying tax from the middle of 2015.