IRISH COSTS GO UP FOR ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATORS
28th January, 2011 at 04:46:21
Taxes and licence fees will be imposed, confirms finance minister
The Irish Times reports that in the very near future a tax on internet betting (see previous reports) will be imposed, along with a licence fee that will be required before online gambling operators will be permitted to access the Irish market.
Quite how this new legal requirement will be enforced is not clear, bearing in mind that many internet betting companies servicing the Irish market are in offshore licensing jurisdictions outside the reach of the Irish authorities.
The minimum licence fee of Euro 5 000 per annum suggested earlier by the Minister of Finance, Brian Lenihan, will remain, despite strong moves by opposition politicians to increase this ten-fold, the Irish Times reports.
Lenihan cautioned that such a hike could create problems of 'disproportionality' in the European Union context.
Brian Hayes (FG, Dublin South West) claimed that seven of the 10 providers in Ireland have their servers outside the country.
In terms of the new Finance Bill, punters placing a bet online would have to pay a 1% turnover tax, but Hayes said it would be a "difficult task" for the Minister to determine the 1% turnover because many of the companies were based offshore. He therefore suggested that a higher licence fee would be a better way to raise revenue for the cash-strapped government.
"For some fly-by-night operators in existence outside this State who offer services to citizens of this State, it would set an important financial threshold that they would have to obtain were they to get a licence to operate in this country, and that would be significant," Hayes argued.
"If they did not have the Euro 50 000 upfront they should not be registered or have a licence here. Many of these operators, be they in Gibraltar [or elsewhere] will simply put on their websites that they have been fully recognised by the Irish State as an operator in this country for a licence fee of Euro 5 000. We are underselling ourselves."
Related News Tags: Gibraltar, Ireland