Plans in the Republic of Ireland to cap the maximum stakes and prizes on gaming machines have been announced by Charlie Flanagan, the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The minister has moved to cap stakes on machines to €5, while the top prize must be set at €500. The proposals were put forth in the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, something that is an interim reform of previous laws, essentially updating the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956.
Higher Limits Had Been Suggested
The 63-year-old current regulations state that the maximum stakes allowed on gaming machines in Ireland are just 3 cents, while the biggest payout is only 50c.
Previously, the government had suggested a new stake limit of €10 and a €750 limit for prizes and payouts, but after passing this through Irish parliament, it has been since amended to the lower amounts now announced.
The new bill is being guided through Oireachtas (Ireland’s national parliament) by David Stanton, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integrations.
It seems that the new bill is being set for debate in the very near future, with the Irish Department of Justice claiming that the aim is for it to be enacted before the end of parliament’s current session in July of next year.
The Department of Justice have also outlined the fact that Charlie Flanagan will have influence only over regulation relating to the stake and prize amounts for licenced gaming machines in the country. Regulation and licencing of the machines, along with the premises they are housed in, will be the responsibility of the Revenue Commissioners.
Ireland Following UK’s Lead After FOBT Stakes Cut
This latest move to cut stakes on gaming machines by the government in Ireland has come fairly quickly after the UK government did something very similar, this year cutting allowed stakes on FOBT’s, fixed-odds betting terminals, drastically.
Previously, players using FOBT’s in land-based betting shops in the UK could bet up to a maximum of £100 per spin, however new laws that came into effect back in April allow for players to bet only £2 maximum per spin, a huge drop and a big reason why overall gambling yield is predicted to fall again next year.
In November, the government in Ireland stated that in their budget for 2020 they would allow for bookmakers to receive a relief up anything up to €50,000 from the 2% turnover tax which is levied on betting across the country, something that may curb future losses.
In other words, the proposal by ministers means that bookmakers in Ireland will not be required to pay tax on the first €50,000 worth of wagers they take across the counter each year. The €50,000 limit will apply every calendar year, while the relief will also only apply to single undertakings.
These changes mean the forecast for betting yield in Ireland is a pretty dreary one for the next year or so, at least until the industry comes to terms with the new rules.