According to Irish media, a decision about whether or not to regulate and tax internet gambling in Ireland is due out at any time. The country’s government has been reviewing the situation since the first of May, and seems to be edging ever closer to a final decision.
Irish gambling law is extremely outdated. The primary piece of legislation that governs the country’s gambling industry is the Gaming and Lotteries act of 1956. If changes are made to update the laws, allowing them to better reflect the current state of the industry, Ireland would soon become a global internet gambling jurisdiction much like Gibraltar or the Isle of Man.
According to a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, the government is considering “options for a new and comprehensive legal and organizationall framework governing the gambling architecture in the State, including remote gambling.”
The potential benefits of such a move are tremendous. The new job opportunities alone would benefit between 5000 and 8000 Irish, from web developers to mathematicians. The government and, in turn, the Irish economy also stand to benefit, with estimates suggesting revenues surpassing 2 billion dollars coming in after just a few years. Many are pushing Irish lawmakers to make a decision quickly before other emerging markets like France and Spain can capture these opportunities.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen says another concern is the licensing and taxation of foreign-hosted internet gambling sites that offer their services to Irish players. “Betting must be brought within the tax net, not just because it will increase revenue, but also because it will mean that those not contributing to securing the future of important indigenous industries will make that contribution.”