Posts Tagged ‘online gambling taxation’

Ireland to Double the Tax Rate on Internet Betting Operators?

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Seemingly following in the footsteps of Great Britain, lawmakers in Ireland are apparently considering reaping more revenue from online gambling activity. And just like the UK, Ireland could be setting itself up for a loss in business if said “reaping” is too much for online betting operators.

As reported by the Irish Examiner, Ireland’s Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan is considering doubling the current tax rate on remote gaming revenue with a 2% tax on all wagers made through Ireland-based and regulated betting sites. Of course, the operative word here is “speculation”. But considering the history of online gambling regulation, if Ireland does indeed impose a 2% winnings tax, it certainly wouldn’t be a big shocker.

When you have the likes of Paddy Power and the Irish Bookmakers’ Association (IBA) voicing concern about such a tax, the reality is that there is indeed some truth behind the speculative claims that Minister Lenihan is, himself, seriously considering the tax spike. IBA’s chairwoman, Sharon Byrne, commented, “We believe that 400 of the 1,200 would shut up overnight. It would kill jobs in the industry”, while a Paddy Power spokesperson said that passing the tax would be “insane”.

Not surprisingly, all of the betting sites and online bookmakers operating out of Ireland, highly oppose the tax. The one exception could possibly be land-based horse racing and dog tracks, which the Irish government has apparently shorted some 30 million Euro’s in government funding.

The idea behind imposing such a spike is that it could generate 60 billion Euro’s in tax revenue per year. Therefore, it would seem the online betting industry would be the most conducive place to turn to for generating some badly needed funds. The gamble, however, is that by increasing the tax rate, many operators will either leave Ireland to do business elsewhere, or simply shut their doors for good. It has been estimated that some 33% of operators will have no choice but the latter.