NEW LEGISLATION seeking to regulate offshore bookmakers and betting exchanges has been published by the Minister for Finance.
The Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012 seeks to ensure fair treatment of all bookies offering services to Irish gamblers, and will require bookies and exchanges based in other jurisdictions to seek licences before they can accept bets from Irish residents.
Michael Noonan said the legislation would allow the extension of betting duty to remove bookmakers, thereby ensuring that all bookmakers operating within the jurisdiction were on an equal tax footing.
“The fact that off-shore bookmakers were not subject to the betting levy represented a competitive disadvantage to on-shore firms and also narrowed the State’s yield from the levy,” he said.
The minister also argued that the extension of Irish law in the area could provide a basis for further investment by gambling firms which are currently based abroad.
“Such major firms prefer to base themselves in a properly licensed and regulated regime,” Noonan said, pointing to the jobs already created in Ireland by Betfair, a market leader in betting exchanges.
Profits from bets with remote bookmakers – such as those which typically offer online gambling services to Irish punters – and betting exchanges like Betfair and Betdaq are already subject to taxation, through the terms of the Finance Act which forms part of the last Budget.
In those cases, however, the taxes are subject to a ministerial commencement order, which Noonan has not yet issued.
Many big-name bookmakers and their online presences are formally based and licensed in other jurisdictions – commonly the Isle of Man or Gibraltar.