Silicon Republic.com reports that Irish politicians who have been considering the licensing and regulation of online gambling for some time could be about to vote for legislative proposals that would see the creation of a regulatory system. That would be instrumental in attracting businesses to the country and may come about as early as end March, sources told the publication.
Such a development has the potential to create as many as 8 000 new jobs, according to DKM Consultants, which says that if Ireland were to put in place the right legal regulatory infrastructure, it could attract businesses that would create employment and drive tax revenue to the Exchequer.
DKM estimates that if Ireland were to capture just 5 percent of the global online casino business, it would represent a local sector worth Euro 2.2 billion and generate 5 000 to 8 000 jobs with an average salary of Euro 40 000 per annum.
Many of these jobs would be for internet experts, accountants and analysts. Such an industry would also have important knock-on effects in terms of demand for telecoms, data centres and energy services, not to mention local spending in the economy.
But, says David Hickson, director of the Gaming and Leisure Association, so far Ireland has failed to act and amend a dated 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act which would open the doors to a thriving industry.
Hickson says the problem until now has been getting various cabinet ministers to sign off on the legislation, and he notes that time is a critical factor as other nations such as France and Spain press ahead with their own schemes to benefit from online gambling regulation.
Hickson points to the 600-job investment by Pocket Kings in Cherrywood, Dublin, which serves the global Full Tilt Poker website, as well as the 250-job investment by Paddy Power in November last as examples of what’s possible. Many of these businesses are sophisticated e-commerce ventures that could provide gainful employment to financial analysts, e-commerce experts and web developers.
“They will only operate in an environment that is regulated and licensed because they do not want to jeopardise their existing licences,” he noted, observing that a competitive tax rate would be vital along with regulation.
“Other countries realise the opportunity. France has introduced a gaming tax rate of 7.5 percent, the UK 15 percent, but it is seeking to change that. To be realistic Ireland would need to aim for a specific gaming duty of between 2 percent and 3 percent,” the gambling exec said.
“France is doing it, Spain is working on it and the UK is waiting on a new Finance Act. The international language of gambling is English and Ireland has an advantage. We are truly on the brink of something huge here,” Hickson opines.
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