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Irish Online Gaming

Ireland began hosting online gaming sites in 2003. The first online bookmaking sites were launched in 2004. Ireland's bookmakers operate Internet-based services under the terms of their bookmaking licenses. The National Lottery may be played via digital TV, phone and Internet. Gambling winnings in Ireland are currently tax-free, but a 2% tax is collected on sports bets.

In March 2009, the National Lottery began offering instant win and draw games online.

Most of the online gaming done by players in Ireland occurs at offshore sites, which provide a better tax structure for operators, so there are no tax revenues going to Ireland or consumer protections under Irish law.

In an effort to capture the lost tax revenue and provide more consumer protections, Ireland has been attempting, with little success, to amend its gaming laws.

Ireland's Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012 was published and is expected to be the framework used to amend the existing Betting Act, 1931. The bill stipulates that any bookmaker accepting bets from Irish residents will need to obtain an Irish betting license. Bookmakers accepting online bets who are based inside or outside Ireland and take in more than EUR 200,000 or 10% of their total turnover online are required to obtain a "remote bookmaker's" license. Betting exchanges will be required to get a "remote betting intermediary's license." New licenses and license renewal fees will cost EUR 5,000 each. Unlicensed bookmakers can face criminal charges, with fines up to EUR 150,000 for a first offense and EUR 250,000 for subsequent offenses, and possible prison sentences of up to five years. If adopted, the Betting (Amendment) Bill would impose a 1% tax on all bets, as well.

The bill failed to make it onto the parliamentary calendar in 2013, but the Irish government finally passed the Gambling 2015 in April 2015 and opened up licensing to gambling operators. Ireland began taxing operators on 1 August 2015.
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