Charlie Flanagan, the Minister of Justice and Equality of the Republic of Ireland has announced new plans for capping the maximum stakes on the gaming machines. The new proposed plan is €5 as the cap of the maximum stake. The top prize will be set at €500. This has been put forward as per the Gaming and Lotteries Amendment Bill 2019. This will replace the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956.
As per the current regulation which is existing for 63 years, the maximum stake on the gaming machine should only be 3 cents. However, the top payout is set at 50 cents. It is all set to change. The government first proposed the cap on the stake as €10 and the maximum for the prize is set at €750. However, the bill was proposed through Oireachtas, the national parliament of Ireland and was discussed. The revised amount was set at €5 as the cap on maximum stake and €500 for maximum prize.
David Stanton, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integrations in the Republic of Ireland is steering the bill through the national parliament.
A Spokesperson for the Department of Justice has confirmed that there will be a debate in the future for the bill. It is aimed that the bill will be discussed and enacted in the current parliament session of July 2020. He, however, mentioned that Flanagan can only influence the stake and maximum prize as part of the regulation. However, licensing and regulations of the machines, premises to be used fall under the responsibilities of Revenue Commissioners.
The Irish Government came to this proposal shortly after the UK government took a drastically opposite step. In its amended regulation, the UK government cut down the amount players can spend on fixed-odds betting terminals or FOBT. As per the new law, a player can only spend £2 per spin in the FOBT. The previous amount was as huge as £100. The new law was applied from April 1.
The Irish Government is also planning for a new tax regime for the 2020 Budget. In good news for the operators, the country is expected to provide relief of up to €50,000 from the 2% turnover tax levied on betting in the Republic of Ireland. To simplify this tax equation, it can be said that bookmakers do not need to pay tax on the first €50,000 wagers. This concession is applicable per year for the bookmakers and the limit applies in each calendar year. It will also be applicable to single undertakings.