Ireland’s gambling industry is set to undergo sweeping reform, taxing online operators and capping the size and number of casinos in the country. Current gambling laws date from 1931 and 1956, and Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, announced today that the government has agreed to his proposals to modernise legislation. A full draft licensing online gambling operators will be presented to the Irish government as early as spring of 2012.
Shatter said: “The shortcomings in the current law, for example, the absence of any regulation of on-line gambling, are exposing young people and other vulnerable persons to unacceptable risks. The Exchequer is also being short changed because of the absence of a taxation regime for on-line and other forms of remote gambling.”
Taxing and regulating online gambling is a positive move. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, which is larger than the Bank of Ireland, pays taxes on its online operations in the Isle of Man, where its servers are located. A spokesman for the company told Reuters that it was happy to pay additional taxes as long as they were applied fairly. “It’s the policing of the legislation that is the most important thing. Irish and international players need to be taxed equally,” he said.
Shatter also said that plans for a Super Casino in Tipperary have been axed. The new legislation will allow for moderately sized casinos but not expansive, resort-style operations. “The Government feels it would not be acting in the public interest if through the forthcoming legislation it encouraged or facilitated the larger developments in the face of such real and substantial doubts about their viability,” he said.