Last July 2012, the Government published the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012. (See our Client Bulletin - 20 July 2012). Since then, the Government has been working on a number of amendments to the Bill to strengthen enforcement measures. Due to the number of amendments required, the Government intends to republish the Bill (rather than amend the current 2012 Bill, which is awaiting the second stage at the Dáil). The new Betting (Amendment) Bill is listed in the Government's legislative programme as being due for publication prior to the summer recess.
The purpose of the Bill is to ensure fair and equal treatment of all bookmakers and betting exchanges in terms of taxation and licensing regardless of the platform used. It therefore brings into the licensing and taxation regime all remote bookmakers and betting intermediaries. The Bill will amend the 1931 Betting Act.
Betting is the only form of gambling subject to taxation in the form of excise duty. The Government has decided to proceed with efforts to extend excise duty to online betting, although the Ministers have admitted there will be difficulties in regard to collecting the tax.
The Finance Act 2011 provides for the taxation of bets that remote bookmakers enter into with persons in the State. Accordingly, in circumstances where a business, engaging in online bookmaking, accepts bets from people in Ireland, it will be liable for betting duty on those bets, irrespective of where the business is located. The 2011 Act also provides for the taxation of betting exchanges. The tax changes provided for in the 2011 Act can only be implemented once the Betting Amendment Bill 2013 is enacted.
The Government has indicated that once the Gambling Control Bill 2013 is enacted, providing a regulated regime for online casino and poker formats, it intends to consider taxation of the wider sector.