Irish players taxes on gambling

Irish Players Taxes On Gambling Winnings - Full Guide

12 min

Who pays taxes for gambling in Ireland? Do players need to worry?

We’ll provide you with the most practical explanations you can find.

Stay with us through this player guide, and you’ll be able to manage your casino activity with much less effort!

Do you have to pay taxes on gambling winnings?

Do you have to pay taxes on gambling winnings

The short answer is no.

The Revenue Commissioners, Ireland’s tax and duty authority, only collects taxes from gambling operators.

Here’s how it really works:

Gaming

In the Irish legislation, gaming means playing something involving skill, chance, or both.

Gaming includes Slots sites, Live casino, and casino games like Roulette or Blackjack, but it excludes sports betting.

However, regardless of the game, anything that falls into this category involves no fees for the player, and no maximum limits are specified.

Does this apply to all types of taxes?

Yes. Irish players don’t have to pay capital gain taxes, income taxes, or VATs for their winnings.

The Hakki Decision

The Hakki Decision

Many players are confused regarding Irish gamblers taxes, and the existence of the Hakki Decision proves it.

Since it’s highly important to know what regulations the court and Revenue Commissioners expect you to abide by, let’s see what this decision is about:

  • A professional online poker player consulted a professional to see whether he needed to pay taxes for his casino winnings or not, as he was in the middle of a child support trial;
  • Hakki played at casinos 3-4 days per week, sometimes spending the entire day there;
  • His lawyer argued that he was not organized enough for his activity to be regarded as a trade or profession;
  • The Revenue Commissioners approved, and it was determined that the player’s winnings were non-taxable.

Is it different for trades?

Yes. If your gambling activity is regarded as a trade, then Revenue Commissioners consider your winnings to be taxable.

Why it’s important to know about the Hakki decision

Despite taking place in the UK, the argument made by Hakki’s lawyer could also be used in a trial involving Irish players taxes on gambling. This is because UK and Irish laws and principles regarding gamblers’ taxes are almost identical.

Betting

Betting

At the moment, the definition and limits of a bet have to be determined in court from case to case.

In terms of taxes, bettors are exempt from:

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
  • Value Added Tax (VAT)

The 1% wager tax

The main wager tax currently perceived is valued at 1%. Unlike previously, when it was collected directly from the bettor, the 1% tax is now imposed on betting companies.

Spread betting

A spread bet allows the customer to speculate on stock and share fluctuations without buying any stocks or using a stockbroker.

Spread betting is not subject to:

  • Income tax
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
  • Stamp duty

For now, spread bets should be tax-free for bettors.

Lottery

Lottery

Lottery winnings are entirely tax-free in Ireland.

However, this rule doesn’t apply to all situations involving lottery winnings, so it’s worth making a few notes:

  • If you earn income by investing them, then the named income is taxable;
  • When the winnings are gifted, a Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) may have to be paid;
  • The same Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) may apply to inherited lottery winnings.

What to do regarding the CAT?

If you’re in one of the last two situations, seek expert advice to make sure no taxes remain unpaid. This is also recommended because the rules may change over time.

What about Bingo?

Under Irish law, Bingo is regarded as a lottery.

Offshore gambling: Are there any different rules?

Offshore gambling Are there any different rules

Offshore gambling providers whose activities fall under Irish gambling laws must request the same licenses from Revenue Commissioners as Irish operators.

Here are the licenses that providers can apply for:

  • Remote bookmaker’s license
  • Remote betting intermediary’s license

What happens to casino service providers?

As you can see, only betting/bookmaking services fall under Irish law. Here’s what all players should be aware of:

  • Online gambling is not yet regulated in Ireland, so online casinos have no license to apply for;
  • The contracts between offshore casino operators and Irish customers shouldn’t be governed by Irish law;
  • If they aren’t governed by Irish law, there are no Irish players taxes on gambling;
  • Until Irish law includes online casino services, online casinos can’t be registered by Revenue Commissioners unless they also provide betting services;
  • For now, the Ireland best casinos have licences from reliable authorities such as the UKGC or MGA.

Your gambling provider’s taxes

Service type Tax type Tax value
Casino VAT 23%
Bingo VAT Exempt
Tote and on-course bets VAT Exempt
National lottery tickets VAT Exempt (this includes the commission that could be paid to the retailer on ticket sale)
Raffle (licenced premises) VAT Exempt

Excise duty: Operator betting taxes explained

Excise duty Operator betting taxes explained

Excise duty is a tax usually imposed in addition to an indirect tax, such as the VAT.

The Irish excise duty is legally stipulated for operators that provide bookmaking and gaming, among other services.

The Revenue Commissioners can issue the following Irish excise licences:

  • The Gaming and Amusement Excise Licence
  • The Excise Licence based on Turnover – Remote Bookmaker’s Licence and Remote Betting Intermediary’s Licence

An observation regarding online gambling

As you can see, there is no excise licence for remote gambling yet. However, it may be stipulated within the new regulations.

Two main licence categories operators can opt for

Licence type Duty
On-premises gaming licence (valid for three months) €175
On-premises gaming licence (valid for a year) €630

For the second category, Irish taxes vary depending on the operator’s annual turnover.

Here are two visual explanations that might help:

Remote Bookmaker’s Licence

Remote Bookmaker’s Licence

Remote Betting Intermediary’s Licence

Remote Betting Intermediary’s Licence

Excise duty information

The Irish taxes represented in the graphs above are only examples. The law regulates these duties much more extensively.

Ireland’s legal gaps How winnings are obtained

Since the Irish gambling legislation has not yet been updated to fit the current reality, players from Ireland face difficulties in claiming winnings legally.

To understand why, let’s look at Gaming and Lotteries Act (1956)

In Section 36, this act regards all gambling and wagering-related contracts as void:

  • This means that no such contract is recognized by Irish law;
  • If they are not valid, the contracts cannot be enforced in court.

What consequences does this regulation have?

If gambling contracts are null, then both players and operators are deprived of receiving gambling debts.

How do casinos reach certain outcomes in the first place?

To see how players get to win in the first place, read our comprehensive RNG guide.

Let’s see how this regulation was applied in court:

Are gambling debts enforceable?

Are gambling debts enforceable

No, they’re not.

Now that you’ve read the theory, we can discuss how the 1956 regulation works in practice.

The Sporting Index Ltd v O’Shea case is the best example we can use:

  • John O’Shea placed an online bet on a rugby match, and it turned out to be unsuccessful;
  • His account got overdrawn, which resulted in gambling debts;
  • The platform sued and obtained two judgments in their favour: one of €118.000 and another of £17.500;
  • John O’Shea defended himself using the regulation in Section 36, which states that all gambling and wagering-related contracts are void;
  • He also used a European Council regulation. If applied, the reason would be: judgments given in other EU states can’t apply in Ireland if they go against its public policy;
  • Sporting Index Ltd argued that the Irish court only had to recognize the previous court order, not the gambling debt itself;
  • The Irish court concluded that both were connected, so the previous court order could not be recognized, and the debt could not be enforced.

How to avoid a legal case

If you don’t want to get caught up in such a dispute, always turn to reliable Ireland casino reviews before choosing a platform to play on.

 

New regulations: Where is the Irish gambling market headed?

New Regulations Where is the Irish gambling market headed

While the current Irish gambling regulations seem pretty out of date, the near future is promising.

The new Gambling Regulation Bill is currently drafted, and it includes:

  • An official gambling authority to oversee the operators’ activity;
  • The possibility of making a complaint regarding the operator;
  • Better safety and advertising regulations.

Let’s take a better look at each of the highlights above, as all Irish players should be aware of the rules they’ll have to abide by:

The Irish gambling authority

  • It will be the only authority to issue licences, and to establish appropriate Irish taxes for licensing;
  • It will handle monitoring activities and on-site inspections, along with other types of verifications;
  • It must inform the public regarding Irish players taxes on gambling, regulations, and services;
  • The authority also has to supervise the standard anti-money laundering practices.

Complaints regarding providers are based on:

  • The operator’s conduct;
  • A service, activity, or product supplied by the operator;
  • The operator’s breach of any regulation imposed by the authority or through the Gambling Regulation Bill.

Safety measures

  • Licence holders are not allowed to extend any loan or credit to a player;
  • ATMs cannot be placed on the premises of a gambling facility;
  • Operators must raise awareness of how to stop gambling addiction using responsible gambling tools;
  • All operators must impose limits that ensure player protection, such as spending limits.

Surprisingly strict measures

Irish gambling operators will be forbidden to provide their users with free bets, paybacks, or offers.

Fees according to new Irish gambling regulations

Fees according to new Irish gambling regulations

Along with the publication of the Gambling Regulation Bill, fees and taxes may change.

When establishing licence fees, the new authority will consider:

  • The types of gambling provided by the operator;
  • The operator’s turnover;
  • The size of the operations;
  • Any other criteria the authority regards as relevant.

What to look for until all these measures are imposed

Since there aren’t many criteria to check if you want to see whether a casino platform is safe for Irish players, here’s a complete list of online casinos Ireland which we’ve already verified.

Methodology

Methodology

The CasinoAlpha legal experts ensure accurate and reliable information within all the guides featured on our website.

This is possible due to our thorough methodology, which encompasses the following steps:

  • Extensive research on the legislation’s specifics, from the judicial system type to legal terminology;
  • The gathering of all laws and regulations applicable to the topic we want to discuss with our readers;
  • Reading all named laws and regulations entirely to debate them within our department;
  • Reading commentaries written by legal experts from the state whose legislation we’re studying;
  • Researching the available jurisprudence related to our topic;
  • The summarization of all regulations and cases gathered so that we can create a practical article structure;
  • The article structure then passes through several departments to make sure it is entirely appropriate for our readers;
  • Lastly, the final article goes through several correction and fact-checking processes to maintain our status as a reliable source of information.

The same steps were followed when writing this article as well, along with a few additional ones:

  • We researched the full history of tax and gambling laws in Ireland to establish which rules are still applicable today;
  • We gathered information regarding the upcoming regulations from different official sources to see which ones are going to be included in the draft;
  • We also studied the Irish gambling legislation in comparison to the UK legislation, as it helped us see the influence of the latter on the recent modifications;
  • As the Irish gambling legislation is complex and poorly organized, additional hours of research were needed to make sure the information featured in this article was accurate.

Our advice to you

Readers who want to make sure they play legally within the limits of Ireland should take the time to double-check all taxes and requirements, as changes can occur anytime.

References

Tudor Turiceanu
AuthorTudor TuriceanuCEO & Chief Editor at Casino alpha

Tudor uses his multiple systematic skillsets to oversee and coordinate the CasinoAlpha project. He assists the authors, to create a transparent gambling niche for users. As a CEO and Chief Editor with broad knowledge, Tudor knows the importance of transmitting confident advice.