Revenue to reel in online bookmakers
THE Revenue Commissioners are to be given enforcement orders to collect taxes from online bookmakers operating in Ireland.
The Government last night said bookmakers like Betfair and William Hill, who are currently prominent during the World Cup football TV ad breaks, will now come under Revenue scrutiny.
Paddy Power will also have to pay taxes on its online profits for the first time. Currently the betting industry pays no tax on internet gambling by its Irish punters and the new legislation will affect all those who operate online here, if they are based outside the country.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan secured Cabinet approval to his amendment to the Betting Bill which passed Second Stage earlier this year.
Mr Noonan and the Government have long sought to identify a means to earn revenue for the State from online bookmakers operating in Ireland, including those who are based in other jurisdictions.
"The key amendment here is that Revenue will be the enforcement authority. The original intention was how to collect revenue from online operators, but it is seen that Revenue are involved, there is likely to be a collection role," a Government spokesman said.
Mr Noonan secured Government approval to provide the Revenue Commissioners with the enforcement role in respect of "unlicensed remote operators".
At present, the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has oversight in this area pending the establishment of the Gambling Control Regulator.
The Bill is also making changes to the licensing regime whereby the period of validity of remote bookmakers' licences was extended to two years and the excise licence duty became payable in two instalments.
The companies which will be affected did not return calls for comment last night.