The Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, announced during his Budget speech on Tuesday that changes will soon be made to Irish gambling laws. A revision will be made to the Irish Betting Act 1931 that will impose taxes on bets placed over the internet by Irish sports fans using foreign-based online betting sites.
The new betting duty on online sportsbooks in Ireland will be the same as the taxes levied on high street betting shops across the country, which is currently fixed at one percent. The current betting tax in Ireland applies only to land-based bookmakers and their internet operations, not to telephone betting or online betting offered by offshore sportsbooks. Under the new law, all sports bets placed in Ireland will be taxed at the same level.
It is not yet clear how this tax will be collected from offshore companies that offer internet betting in Ireland. More details on the how the new tax will applied are expected to be published in early 2011.
The Minister also announced plans to create an online gambling licensing regime for Ireland, but the announcement was vague, and no time frame was given. A system to license and regulate online gambling could take years to accomplish. Nonetheless, it seems likely that an online gambling reform is on its way to Ireland, and that gamblers can look forward to a future filled with a larger variety of locally regulated online gambling services.