Irish tax delay; Paddy’s Global Draw trial; Machine Games Duty deadline looms

TAGs: Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, gambling tax, Ireland, machine games duty, sg gaming, The Global Draw

ireland-online-tax-uk-machine-games-dutyAround 1,600 self-employed taxpayers in Ireland are cursing their Revenue Commissioners after being mistakenly informed they’d be receiving tax rebates to which they weren’t entitled. A glitch in the online filing system meant some unfortunate bastards received as many as three ‘money’s on the way’ letters from the taxman, only to eventually be informed there would be no giant novelty checks coming through the mail slot anytime soon. Hopefully, these same individuals saved the receipts for those flash Christmas presents they purchased with their unexpected windfalls.

By comparison, online gambling companies serving Irish punters are whooping it up on news that the nation’s new tax on internet betting outfits won’t be in place on New Year’s Day as envisioned when the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012 was published this summer. Irish lawmakers are preoccupied with debate over the latest austerity budget, meaning the betting bill now won’t come up for discussion until the new year.

The Irish Times quoted Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney saying the government planned to have the legislation ready for introduction by February, but the bill must also be sent to Brussels for European Commission approval, adding a few more months delay to the process. All in all, it could be well into the second half of 2013 before online operators are compelled to ante up the 1% betting turnover duty. Meanwhile, the Irish government confirmed it was cutting another €1m from Horse Racing Ireland’s funding and ruled out the possibility of racing being allowed to ‘ring fence’ the annual €15m-€20m the new online betting tax is (eventually) expected to raise.

Irish bookies Paddy Power have tapped SG Gaming offshoot The Global Draw to outfit some of its retail outlets with electronic gaming machines. The deal is a trial basis, with The Global Draw installing roulette games like Keybet and Hot Shot Roulette plus slot favorites like Thai Flower and Rainbow Riches in 20 of Paddy’s UK shops. SG Gaming’s Phil Home said the company was “delighted” at the chance to “build a relationship” with the Paddsters.

We assume Paddy Power has already signed up for the UK’s new Machine Games Duty, the new 20% electronic gaming machine profits tax that takes effect February 1. Betting shops with fixed-odds betting terminals, casinos and pubs are all required to sign up for the scheme or face penalties of up to 100% of the tax owed. (Arcades and bingo halls that host machines offering smaller stakes will face an appropriately smaller 5% tax.) Despite the threat of fines, the response by operators has been so slack the government has been forced to extend the filing deadline by 10 days to Jan. 11. Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) CEO Dirk Vennix told GamblingCompliance the problem was down to the fact that many operators “do not realize they’ve got to register.” The ABB estimates the new duty could cost its members £318m over five years, with the two biggest high-street bookies – William Hill and Ladbrokes – expected to pay the taxman an extra £14m per year.


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