Ireland’s Hammond Targets Offshore Gambling in Tax Sweep

Ireland’s Hammond Targets Offshore Gambling in Tax Sweep

Ireland has had a contentious relationship with gambling companies who do business on the island for many years. Many people love gambling, and there are jokes about the Irish and their love of gambling. However, the government is not amused. The chancellor of Ireland is set to increase taxes on offshore gambling and sports books.

Gambling in Ireland

Gambling in IrelandThe Irish have been gambling in Ireland since the Middle Ages. Early in the history of Ireland, people were betting on horse racing in the country. Evidence of wagers and payout amounts has been discovered from as early as the 17th century. Other forms of gambling, such as dice and card games, operated under the  knowledge and consent of the British government. They didn’t much care what the Irish did, as long as they made money from it.

When Ireland became a free country in 1922, they began working on laws to regulate gambling. But even then, not much regulating was taking place. Early legislation stated that any business who was going to take sports bets had to be licensed. The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 regulated all areas of gambling by the Irish government. Casinos were legalized in 2013. However, one area that has not been fully regulated is the area of online or offshore gambling. Offshore gambling includes casino gambling, sportsbooks, and poker.

Earlier Decisions

The Irish government has been looking for ways to bring more revenue into its coffers for social services. The country’s unemployment rate has been cut in half. However, there are still people in certain areas of the country who need additional help. Also, the country uses some of the gambling revenue to aid its senior citizens. A portion of the revenue also goes towards helping people in the country who have a gambling problem. Research has indicated that the Irish lose more money gambling than any other country except Australia and Singapore. The amount of money the Irish government collects from gambling revenues has decreased. The decrease is because of the new limitations on fixed-odds betting terminals. The maximum stake of FOBT’s per spin has been decreased from 100 pounds to 2 pounds. This decrease has resulted in a large revenue loss for the country.

The Current Move

The chancellor plans to introduce a bill. The bill will increase the remote gaming duty overseas operators pay for permission to conduct business in Ireland. It is expected that the additional revenue raised will be approximately a billion pounds over the next five years. The revenue will help fill the gap of FOBT tax revenue. The revenue has been estimated to be around 400 million pounds per year. The tax revenue will be taken from the gross gambling yield of offshore gaming sites. The revenue is expected to increase from 15 percent of gross yield to 25 percent of gross yield.

Other gambling entities argued it was unfair they had to pay taxes on revenue that wasn’t collected from offshore sites. Therefore, the duty on offshore gambling was imposed. The thought was that imposing taxes leveled the playing field between UK and Ireland-based gambling groups and their offshore competitors. Now the law reads that any company with customers based in Ireland must pay taxes on their revenues. Similar laws are on the books in the UK and Australia. While offshore casinos, poker halls and sportsbooks are protesting the law, the onsite Irish gambling businesses are rejoicing. They have felt offshore gambling companies have not pulled their fair share of taxes when compared to Irish onshore companies.

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