Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Wednesday) called on the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, to consider introducing a higher than proposed tax rate on online gambling, in the context of the Betting Amendment Bill.
“Provision for an online gambling tax was first made in the Finance Act 2011, but the challenges associated with dealing with a sector which is based online has meant that it is only coming to fruition now.
“As a country, we’re spending a huge amount on online gambling sites every year. It’s estimated that about €1.6 billion is being gambled online annually, with Paddy Power generating three quarters of its profits online.
“Based on these figures, the State will take in €16 million a year if the current rate of 1% tax, which applies to betting shops, is extended to online gambling. This is money that could be spent on crucial services, and considering the volume of Irish cash being spent online, I think it is worth introducing a slightly higher tax rate.
“The delay in introducing this legislation means the State has already lost out in tens of millions of euro in potential revenues. Gambling companies are making huge profits here, both online and through traditional methods.
“I believe there is scope for a marginally higher tax. Naturally this increase should not be so high as to force these companies to relocate to other tax free locations, as happened previously in the UK. However, I think a 1.5% to tax would be fair compromise and would allow the State to increase the amount of money at its disposal to invest in important services.”