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Ireland Opens Online Gaming LicensurePublished April 21, 2015 by Lee R
The new amendment protects licensees and customers while adding government revenues.
Online operators will be taxed in Ireland, starting this summer.
Licensing Process Begins
As of August 1, 2015, the Irish government will begin taxing online operators providing gaming service to Irish residents, as consummated by last month's passing of the Gambling Amendment Act 2015.
The move was long-anticipated after a series of setbacks stemming from the initial introduction of an online gambling bill back in 2011. Apparently, the Irish government did not want to miss out on anymore related revenues, estimating gains of €25 million per year from taxes and licensing fees collectable from nationally licensed gaming operators.
The licensing process commenced on April 16th, with applications being accepted under a new regime which requires licensed operators to pay a one-percent tax on turnover on most bets, coupled with a 15-percent tax on sports-related exchange bets.
Licensees will further be required to pay €10,000 every two years for to renew the license to operate within the country's borders. All applicants are requires to procure a certificate of “personal fitness” from the Irish police department before submitting their applications.
The new gaming amendment punishes operators without licenses with fines of up to €300,000 for illegally provision of gaming services within the country.
The effect on gaming operators will have the most impact on the bottom lines of gaming operators with significant bases of operation in the Irish market. Such operators include BoyleSports and Paddy Power, which estimates that the new regulation regime would have cost the company €8 million had it been in effect in 2014. Paddy Power also heavily relies on online gaming in general, with 77 percent of its business collected via online operations.
In reaction, one Paddy Power spokesman voiced the priority of fair application to all gaming operators. He told eGaming Review that Paddy Power provided significant input to Irish authorities to ensure that both foreign and Ireland-based operators would be given the same treatment and consideration.
As for players, the effect is expected to be minimal. The only impact may be that some smaller gaming operators will be discouraged from servicing Irish customers. As for costs of play, the new amendment squarely prohibits operating costs of licensees from being passed on to customers.