The Republic of Ireland recently published amendments to a bill called the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012, and as per the new laws, the government has clearly outlined a systematic set up for betting laws.
The new betting laws will regulate and levy taxes on online and offshore sportsbooks. However, although the bill does discuss sports betting, it completely skirts the issue of online poker betting and wagering on such games of skill.
Sharon Byrne from the gambling company of Boylesport, who also functions as the chair for the Irish Bookmakers Association, was very pleased with the new development and is happy about the new changes in gambling law that the bill has allowed for.
The betting exchanges are having a severe impact on betting shops so this legislation from Minister Noonan is very welcome as it allows shops to open all year round after 18:00 which will definitely protect and create jobs. It allows betting shops to compete with the mobile and remote competitors.
However, although the mobile sports books and sports betting shops are excited about the new laws, the poker industry in Ireland is rather disappointed that online poker has been overlooked and that the new laws have made no provision for it. The bill currently pushed forward a 1% tax on bookmakers, located both online and offshore. However, betting exchanges will be required to pay a 15 percent tax on their turnover in regards to the gross profit acquired. The bill also set about laws to protect customers and even went so far to determine set timings for the sports betting shops to close.
According to Michael Noonan, the Finance Minister of the country,
This Bill will bring into place a fair and equitable licensing and regulatory regime for all bookmakers and betting intermediaries. The fact that offshore bookmakers were not subject to the betting levy represented a competitive disadvantage to onshore firms and also narrowed the State’s yield from the levy.
However, although Bryne also made it a point to state that the new changes wrought by the gambling bill of Ireland in 2012 will be of more use to customers, she also mentioned that she was not in favor of the new 15% tax. “We note the legislation also gives customers protections that they didn’t have before with regard to not being paid out on a genuine bet…We believe that the turnover tax is the wrong type of tax to impose. “