Ireland is made up by the majority of an island directly west from England. It's located south of Northern Ireland. To the east is the Irish Sea, and in all other directions is the Atlantic Ocean.
Ireland is one of the countries that got the biggest head start when it came to licensing online gambling sites. Explicit legalization was first given in 2003, and they had sites operating from Ireland since 2004.
They have an interesting history...
... of how they have tried to handle taxes and other fees when it comes to their licensees, and they've largely settled on a simple license-based fee along with very small taxes on gambling wins.
One thing that's worth pointing out is that Ireland looked into how they handle online gambling to be more closed off to foreign operators, much like the United Kingdom after licensing changes that were made in 2014.
Considering that Ireland has always been able to stay ahead of the curve, the expected changes were introduced soon afterwards.
In April 2015, the president signed off...
... on the Gambling Act 2015, scheduling its enforcement by August the same year.
The reason this change took Irish legislators a year or so to draft was due to certain conflicts of interests with the Malta jurisdiction and operators that were licensed there, as well as by a second authority. The specific changes dictated that offshore operators looking to offer their services to Irish players would need to obtain a license, and hence subject to tax charges for transacting with players from Ireland, regardless whether they are physically present in the market.
Under the new tax regime...
... a 15% tax on gross wins was imposed on sports betting, while 1% of gross wins was the tax policy for interactive casino, gaming and bingo revenues.
Only in October 2018 did the Irish government propose...
... some changes to this policy – doubling the tax on betting to 2% on turnover, and an increase on the tax on betting exchanges from 15% to 25% of gross wins.
Ultimately, a range of additional measures were proposed, amended or officialised in order to better regulate and protect the industry and its participants.
For one, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)...
... forbade all gambling sponsors except those with on-going contracts in order to protect the credibility of all sports.
Furthermore, for better regulation of the gambling industry as a whole...
... legislators have been actively engaged in improving and amending the Gambling Control Bill 2013. Yet, the General Secretary of the Irish Amusement Trade Association, John Roche explicitly claimed that such changes couldn’t possibly be effected before 2019. The main reason for this is the fact that the bill in question proposes drastic changes to the 60+ year old licensing and regulatory system.
To date, the last of these regulatory and protection measures was the Criminal Justice Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Amendment Act 2018. Signed by the President on 14 November, 2018, it incorporated gambling operators within the country’s anti-money laundering laws, meaning that they would need to conduct due diligence on all deposits and withdrawals over €2000.
For the time being, licensing is based on the idea...
... that sites have to get a license to operate in Ireland before they can offer their games.
For tax reasons, many companies preferred to operate from outside of the country. These tax “loopholes” and other issues have been the motivation for revamping how licensing is handled in the country. Even with some legislation in place, as mentioned above, there is still a need for the government to enforce stricter bans or penalties for rogue operators.
Something that's really good about how Ireland handles online gambling regulation is that they are very serious about protecting their players. They have no problem whatsoever with pulling a license if there is sufficient evidence for doing so, and they have shown more than once that they are serious when it comes to player complaints.
Overall, they also have measures in place to give players help who want it when it comes to compulsive gambling and other gambling-related issues like money management.
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