Ireland publishes remote licensing bill

Ireland has today published its long-awaited legislation requiring all online bookmakers and betting exchanges to obtain a licence if they wish to continue operating in the market.

The Betting (Amendment) Bill, which the Irish government hopes will help bridge a huge €50m-plus shortfall in annual funding for the country’s racing industry, will require all Irish-licensed bookmakers taking more than €200,000 or 10% of bets remotely and non Irish-licensed bookmakers taking online bets in Ireland to apply for a remote bookmaker’s licence.

Betting exchanges such as Betfair will be required to obtain a “remote betting intermediary ‘s licence”.

Passage of the Bill when Ireland’s parliament returns after its summer recess will activate the changes to taxation of remote betting contained within Ireland’s 2011 Finance Act. This will compel all bookmakers taking bets from Ireland to pay 1% betting duty on those bets as all betting shops currently do in Ireland.

Betting exchanges will, “in view of the different model adopted by betting exchanges” according to the Finance Act, pay a betting intermediary duty “of 15% on the commission they charge/receive from persons in the State.”

The Irish government is planning for the taxes to come into force at the start of 2013, once the changes to the country’s regulatory and tax regime for betting have been notified to the European Commission, a process which takes a minimum of three months.

The new law will also make it a criminal offence “to carry on the business of or act as a remote bookmaker from a place outside the State by means of an internet website that may be accessed by a person from a place in the State”, with anyone convicted facing a fine of up to €150,000 and up to five years in prison.

Casino Choice journalist

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