New gambling tax points to winners and losers
The Irish online gambling industry is set for a bumpy few months after it was announced at the start of March that a bill to impose a one per cent tax on online gambling in the Republic had been passed to the President. The new tax is expected to come into effect later this year and inevitably it will have a far reaching impact.
The move comes hot on the heels of the introduction of a similar point of consumption tax in the UK in December and is predicted to raise something close to €25 million. Whilst that is good news for the tax office, and the horse and greyhound racing industries who have been promised €11 million of that take, it is inevitably less good news for online providers. And that applies equally to traditional bookmakers and online casino and gaming sites. Check out casinosonline.ie for a good overview of the latter.
That €25 million is cash which up until now those providers have been enjoying for themselves. Quite how much of the levy will be passed on to ordinary players remains to be seen, although in the fullness of time it will probably all go that way. But, hardly surprisingly, gamblers are a highly price-sensitive bunch. That 1% may not sound like a lot, but it is the sort of marginal difference to which sharp punters are highly sensitive.
The good news for punters and grinders in the meantime is that the operators are going to be falling over themselves to capture as big a slice of the market as they can. The idea is that the more loyal players those sites can build up, the better able they will be to absorb the impact of the tax. If the example of the UK is anything to go by, that will mean plenty of juicy promotional sign-up bonuses, loyalty schemes and free plays.
There is additional good news for gamblers of all persuasions in this move, although they may not all agree, in that the greater regulation of the industry in Ireland is likely to make it a generally safer and more responsible environment. No one likes paying for taxes, but they do have their good points.