Ireland Passes Online Amendments

Starting in August, the Irish government will start taxing online gaming operators that serve Irish punters. In March, officials passed the Gambling Amendment Act 2015, legislation that was first introduced in 2011.

Big fines for lawbreakers

With the passage last month of its Gambling Amendment Tax Act, regulators in Ireland are looking forward to an estimated €25 million (US$27 million) per year in new revenues from online gaming operators.

According to, licensed operators will be required to pay a 1 percent tax on turnover on most bets and a 15 percent tax on sports bets. Licensees will be required to pay €10,000 every two years for a renewable license and must first obtain a certificate of “personal fitness” from Irish law enforcement.

Unlicensed operators are subject to fines; repeat offenders could be fined €300,000 for illegally providing gaming services to Irish residents. Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the new law “is just a first step in providing for a well-regulated betting and gambling regime.”

The taxes are moderate compared to more aggressive taxes being applied in other EU countries, according to reports. But they will undoubtedly affect gaming operators like BoyleSports and Paddy Power. Paddy Power estimates that if the new gaming taxes were in place during 2014, it would have cost the company €8 million. Seventy-seven percent of Paddy Power’s business is now online.

BoyleSports Finance Director Michael Bent responded to the news saying, “We’ve always said we’d have no issue with an online betting tax so long as it is implemented fairly, and this bill is the first step in making sure that happens. However, this is only the first step and it still remains to be seen whether this can be implemented in a way which doesn’t put Irish businesses at a commercial disadvantage.”

According to ABC News, the majority of online operators serving the Irish market have “welcomed” the amendments, saying the Irish government has taken a suitable approach to taxation and licensing.