BUSINESS

Ireland, Greece propose changes to online gambling laws

TAGs: greece, Ireland

Ireland-Greece-online-gambling-lawsEarlier we told you what will and will not be included in Ireland’s land-based gaming revamp, but obviously we’re more interested in what the government’s Options for Regulating Gambling consultation paper has to say re the online gaming industry. While recognizing that online gaming is a global phenomenon that “may well be incapable of full regulation,” that doesn’t mean the Dept. of Justice & Law Reform isn’t determined to give regulations a try.

On one thing, the government is clear: cater to Irish customers without an Irish-issued license and you’ll face “a range of sanctions.” Realizing that a ban on advertising within the jurisdiction wouldn’t amount to much, Ireland would contemplate ISP blocking and trying to “impact on the financial transaction processing of offending companies.”

As far as taxation goes, the paper basically laterals that question over to the Minister for Finance, but acknowledges that there is “little point” in instituting an exorbitant French-style scheme that “puts companies at a disincentive from establishing themselves in or selling into the market.” It concludes with the belief that a “properly regulated sector, in conjunction with a low taxation system on gambling products, could give Ireland an advantage” in attracting gaming firms and the high-wage employment opportunities they provide.

Elsewhere in the Euro zone, details are sketchy, but the Greek government has announced it will introduce legislation early next year to legalize online gambling. The move is prompted by the government’s desperate need to meet revenue collection targets stemming from its €110b IMF bailout earlier this year. The online gambling nod, as well as the lifting of a ban on low-stake gambling machines, is expected to help the government raise more than €1b. (One down, only €109b to go!)

The government also announced that it’s hoping to extend the sports betting monopoly held by OPAP (in which the state holds a 35% stake) past the current 2020 expiration date. The government is also looking to conduct “an assessment of the best available options for the management” of its 35% slice of OPAP.

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