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Ireland Should Reform Gambling LawsPublished July 15, 2008 by OCR Editor
An Irish government committee has concluded the Emerald Isle could reap huge benefits if it plays its hand right.
A study by Ireland's Casino Committee published last Thursday recommends the Emerald Isle reform outdated gambling laws in order to benefit from the effective ban on online gambling in other countries, particularly the United States.
The committee, created in 2006 to improve regulation of Irish gambling, cited the relocation of many companies from the USA to Europe following the passing of the USA's 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which outlaws the transfer of funds from a financial institution to an Internet gambling site (with the exception of certain things such as online lotteries and horse racing).
"The recent United States prohibition of payment mechanisms for gambling online, presents a window of opportunity for Ireland," the Casino Committee said in the report.
The committee recommended regulating online gambling to protect against minors using the services and to guard against criminal activity.
It also proposed that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan look into the possibility of establishing competitive tax rates. Ireland's corporate tax rate is currently a very low 12.5%, making it an attractive place for big firms to do business.
Many large firms already have their European headquarters in the Irish capital Dublin, including Google and Yahoo. Implementing the report's suggestions would allow Ireland to attract gambling companies as well.
In October 2007 we reported that Dublin had become the main location for gambling companies moving their headquarters away from North America. At the time it was reported that the capital had already seen a growth of 300 new jobs created around the industry.
This number looks set to rise even more if the government acts on the committee's recommendations.