Speaking last night at a dinner hosted by The Irish Field, Taoiseach Brian Cowen flagged that internet, telephone and other forms of remote betting would be brought into the tax net as part of putting in place a sustainable system for the support of Ireland's Horse and Greyhound Racing Industry.

The Taoiseach said that "[t]oo much has been achieved over the last thirty years in establishing a world class racing and breeding industry in Ireland to allow it to be lost [...] those currently not contributing to securing the future of important indigenous industries will now make that contribution".

Mr Cowen also said that new legislation will be introduced which will require overseas betting providers to be licensed if they want to sell their products into Ireland. This, he said, "will have the additional benefit of facilitating the extension of the tax regime for the betting industry to all those providing online and telephone betting and so underpin funding for the racing industry."

The Taoiseach did not specify in his speech when the proposed changes would be implemented. However, it is understood that policy proposals in relation to the reform of Irish gambling laws (including the reform of Irish law on betting, gaming and lotteries) which were formulated by the Casino Gaming Control Section earlier this year, are currently with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform for approval. Once they are signed off on, that paves the way for the introduction of draft legislation.