Imminent introduction of online betting tax welcome – Harrington

Exchequer could benefit to the tune of €20 million per year

Fine Gael Cork South West Deputy, Noel Harrington, has said the proposed extension of the betting tax to include remote book makers and betting exchanges could provide a significant boost to the Exchequer which could be ring-fenced to provide additional supports for gambling addiction services.

“In a reply to a Parliamentary Question I put to the Minister for Finance, it was confirmed to me that legislation which will extend betting duties to include remote betting and betting exchanges is currently at an advanced stage. The Minister reiterated this in his Budget speech.

“To date betting duties have only applied to bets placed in betting shops with bets placed by Irish punters either online or over the phone, essentially with offshore entities, falling outside the tax net. 

“The Minister has been working on widening the tax base in respect of this area and on extending betting duties to remote bookmakers as well as introducing a betting intermediaries’ duty for betting exchanges. This has often been considered as an area that is difficult to tackle.

“It is estimated that the Exchequer could benefit by up to €20 million in a full year by extending betting duty in this way. This money could, and should, be ring-fenced to provide for addiction services and supports.

“Given the increase in online betting and the prevalence of the smart phone, it makes sense to tap this sector to assist those struggling with gambling addictions. It would also send a signal to international betting operations that not only is Ireland a location with relatively low taxes, we also have an appropriate licensing framework making us an attractive possibility for investment and employment opportunities.

“I look forward to amendments to the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2011, which are needed to give effect to legislation in the Finance Act 2011 to provide for such an extension and to the benefits to the Exchequer and gambling addicts that will come as a result.”