What is Ireland's Betting (Amendment) Act 2015?

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Ireland's Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 was signed into law by the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, on 15 March 2015. The bill was designed and passed to update the Betting Act 1931 which failed to address and account for the explosion of online gambling set to take place a half decade after its drafting. The Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 was signed in March 2015 while its regulations were officially enacted 1 August 2015.

The amendment was created to apply to all remote operators, regardless of where and whether they are online or not. If the operator accepts bets from anyone in Ireland, they will be subjected to Irish licensing and taxation.

Addressing the World of Online Gambling

As with almost every government of a major gambling market, Ireland was forced to address the boom of online gambling as most gambling legislation was passed well before the invention and implementation of the internet. Ireland's gambling has been regulated for the last 80+ years by the Betting Act of 1931. Although this law seemed to cover all forms of gambling at the time, it obviously failed to account for the unique aspects of online gambling.

As the Irish online gambling scene continued its relentless expansion, legislators were forced to look at the legality, taxation and licensing of not only online gambling within Ireland but the gambling taking place by players in Ireland with international online gambling operators. Regulating remote bookmakers and operators enabling Irish players to gamble online was the central topic of 'The Act'.

Concentration on Licensing

The core topic of 'The Act' is licensing; the passing of this bill required all remote bookmakers and remote betting operators providing betting services to customers in Ireland apply and hold a licence from the Irish Government.

The initial licence has a €10,000 licence fee. The following fees for licenses is determined by annual turnover for remote bookmakers or by annual commission earnings in relation to remote operators. All licences issued after the passing of the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 will expire on 30 June 2017. Licenses acquired after this date in 2017 will be renewable every two years. The fess can can be paid in full or in two installments.

'The Act' made it illegal to facilitate gambling to players in Ireland without one of three licenses. The penalty for the offense is a fine of up to €150,000 for a first offence, €300,000 for the following offences, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both fine and imprisonment.

Three Types of Betting Licenses

The three gambling licenses offered by the Irish government following the passing of the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 are:

  1. licence for retail bookmakers
  2. licence for operators offering remote betting to customers based in Ireland
  3. licence for operators who facilitate Irish customers making bets like betting exchanges

Extending the 'Betting Duty'

Outside of ensuring each operator functioning in Ireland in any capacity is operating fairly and within the regulations in place, the Betting (Amendement) Act 2015 was passed to ensure the Irish government could extend their gambling taxation scheme beyond operators in Ireland. The newly passed bill extended the existing 'betting duty' to remote operators. The 'betting duty' is a 1% tax on every bet "entered into" with players of Ireland.

Other Provisions

Accounts for Underage Players

The bill also extended the offense of betting with an underage person to creating an account with a gambling operator. Basically, it made it illegal to even just create an account for an underage player, regardless of whether they gamble with that account or not.

Advertising Clause

The final provision of note in the Betting Act 2015 was the repeal of the prohibition on advertisements about betting of football. Bookmakers were extremely receptive of this portion of bill as it helped clear up some major misunderstandings regarding the previously passed provision.