Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has said the Government is dragging its heels on implementing a tax for online betting, despite the work done by the previous Government to introduce the necessary legislation.


Deputy McGrath said: “Fianna Fáil in Government introduced provisions in the Finance Act 2011 to extend the betting tax to online bookmakers. The details were announced by the former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in December:


“I am making the necessary arrangements to ensure that bets placed on the internet by domestic punters are subject to the same level of betting duty as applies in high street betting shops. Details are set out in an annex in the accompanying documentation” – Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan TD, 07 December 2010.


“The fact is that the previous Government got the ball rolling on this issue more than seven months ago, but Fine Gael and Labour have stalled the process since taking up office.  The legislation is ready to go and this Government has admitted as much. All they have to do is give it the final go ahead and allow the State to benefit from the extra revenue. My colleagues and I have raised the matter a number of times over the past few weeks but we failed to see any action from Government ahead of the summer recess.


“We now have a situation where Government Ministers are seeking to announce the extension of the betting tax to online betting as something new. Recently in the Dáil the Taoiseach advised me that this Bill would not be coming before the Cabinet until the end of August, despite the fact it was promised in the legislative programme for publication in the summer session.


“Fianna Fáil strongly supports an online betting tax and we are again urging the Government to stop seeking headlines on this and instead to follow through on its implementation as quickly as possible.”