Online poker in the Republic of Ireland will soon have to obtain a license and pay a new gambling tax, according to the Irish Examiner.
Since online poker in Ireland became big business, politicians have been looking for a way to levy those who offer services to Irish residents. In fact, until now, online operators have enjoyed somewhat of a tax haven in the country. However, that’s something Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, is anxious to change.
Since taking up the position of Minister for Finance three years ago, Noonan has been working on a law that would charge offshore operators a tax for offering games to players inside the Republic of Ireland. Unfortunately, due to a number of the issues, the new law has taken time to come into effect. However, with the UK on the cusp of ushering in new taxation and licensing laws, Ireland is now looking to follow suit.
In addition to having new tax laws to abide by, all active operators in the Republic of Ireland, whether they have a physical presence in the country or not, will be required to hold a valid gaming license.
Barring any last-minute problems, the new regime will be built into the new Betting (Amendment) Bill 2013, which should come into effect within the coming months. Once the levy comes into force, Noonan expects to make around â‚¬25 million ($32 million) each year from online poker and gambling in Ireland. In comparison to larger countries, this revenue stream might not appear that impressive, but according to Noonan, it will provide a vital lifeline to the country’s greyhound and horseracing industry.
In addition to promising funds for Ireland’s economy at large, Noonan has stated that at least â‚¬11 million will go towards the country’s horse and greyhound racing.
“In recognition of the importance of the Irish bloodstock industry to the rural economy and the anticipated yield of â‚¬25 million per annum from betting duty, the government will be providing an additional â‚¬6 million a year for three years to the fund for horse and greyhound racing,” explained Noonan.
One online gaming company that is in support of the latest news is Paddy Power. The Irish bookmaker, which also has online poker and casino interests, has been helping Noonan refine the bill in order to ensure a “level playing field” for everyone.
“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,” a spokesperson for the company told the Examiner.