Minister Takes on Online Gambling

Published June 10, 2009

Minister Takes on Online Gambling

It remains to be seen whether a compromise will be struck or the Minister for Sport carries through with threats against gambling industry.

Irish online gambling companies face the prospect of a US-style ban on online gambling if a government minister carries through with previous threats.

Minister for Sport Martin Cullen threatened in April to ban Internet gambling if bookmakers don't contribute more money to the government's Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund.

If Cullen has his way, the government will reduce its contribution to the fund by around 1.5 million Euros this year, and will expect bookmakers to pick up the bill.

Cullen said that a levy of 0.5 percent on online gambling would bring over 100 million Euros into the fund, adding that most betting is now offshore and that the government will be forced to make choices. He did say, however, that he would prefer alternative action to an outright ban on Internet gambling.

With no major developments reported since, it remains to be seen whether a compromise will be struck between the government and the gambling industry or whether more drastic action will be taken.

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