CASINO

Proposed Irish gambling bill rubbished as having “no appeal to the industry”

TAGs: Gambling Control Bill 2013, Ireland

irish-gambling-billIreland’s proposed gambling legislation has been savaged by a parliamentarian who characterized the restrictions contained in the Gambling Control Bill 2013 (read it here) as “short-sighted and negative.” Michael Lowry, an independent member of Ireland’s lower legislative house for Tipperary North, described the Bill’s 15-gaming table limit for individual casinos as “ridiculously low” and having “no appeal to the industry.”

None of the 40 small-scale casinos the Bill would allow to open across Ireland will be allowed to offer the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) that are alleged to have caused wholesale consternation in the UK’s betting shops. Combined with the hard cap on the number of gaming tables, Lowry said the Bill’s restrictions were “so prohibitive as to make these proposed new casino licenses commercially non-viable.”

Lowry’s constituency was formerly tipped as the site for a proposed ‘Two Mile Vegas’ project, and Lowry said that plan’s backer, Richard Quirke, would participate in the Bill’s consultation process to ensure politicians understand that the limits are “impractical, unworkable and not financially sustainable.”

Meanwhile, there’s been precious little said about the Bill’s online gambling intentions, mostly because its provisions had been telegraphed so far in advance. Licenses would be valid for two-year periods, and Ireland plans to extend the 1% turnover tax currently imposed on land-based wagers to the online realm. Ireland is also seeking to authorize online betting exchanges, which would face a 15% commission on wagers. All told, the country hopes the online licensing regime will boost government coffers by €15m to €17m, but the Bill must first be approved by parliamentarians and then forwarded to Brussels to obtain the European Commission’s okay.

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