Ireland: Minister Makes Commencement Order For The Betting (Amendment) Act 2015

Last Updated: 28 May 2015
Article by Rob Corbet and Chris Bollard
Most Read Contributor in Ireland, December 2017

On 14 April 2015, The Minister for Finance signed a commencement order for the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 (the "Act"). The Act came into operation on 15 April 2015, with several aspects of the new regulatory regime set to commence on 1 August 2015.


The main purpose of the Act is to bring betting intermediaries (i.e. betting exchanges) and remote bookmakers (i.e. internet and mobile betting providers) within the scope of the existing licensing regime, while it will extend the existing 1% turnover tax on land-based bookmaker's activities to online and mobile bookmakers. The Act also means that the 15% commission tax for betting exchanges, which was initially tabled in 2011, can now be finally implemented.


Bookmakers and Remote Bookmakers.

  • The current licencing regime for bookmakers is being extended to include "remote bookmakers". In the context of the Act, "remote means" includes the internet, the telephone and telegraphy (including wireless telegraphy). The initial fee for a remote betting licence will be €10,000.
  • A licencing regime is being introduced for remote betting intermediaries. A remote betting intermediary is "a person who, in the course of business, provides facilities that enable persons to make bets with other persons (other than the first mentioned person) by remote means". This will cover betting exchanges such as Betfair.
  • A "standard" (i.e. traditional or non-remote) bookmaking licence will now also allow limited remote betting. The value of remote betting on a standard bookmakers licence may not exceed the lower of €250,000 or 10% of that bookmaker's yearly turnover.
  • The Act for the first time defines the term "bookmaker" in Irish statute law as "a person, who in the course of business, takes bets, sets odds and undertakes to pay out on winning bets". This will cover traditional fixed odds bookmakers as well as those offering spread-betting facilities. It would not typically cover casino or other gaming services which remain largely prohibited under the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956.
  • For the first time, the Act permits a company to hold a bookmaker's licence or a betting intermediary's licence and it introduces some additional compliance and enforcement measures applicable to corporates.

Prohibitions on unlicensed betting operations

  • The Act makes it illegal to offer betting services (including intermediary betting services) over the internet to customers in Ireland without a remote bookmaker or remote betting intermediary licence. The existing prohibition on operating a bookmaker's premises without a license remains in place.
  • Sanctions include a class A fine (currently €5,000) on summary conviction. A conviction on indictment carries a penalty of a €150,000 fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both. The Act provides for fines of up to €300,000 for repeat offenders. Summary proceedings may be brought by the Revenue Commissioners.
  • The Act also provides for prosecutions in absentia, in order to cater for prosecutions against overseas bookmakers who fail to obtain an Irish licence and subsequently fail to present themselves before an Irish court, with procedures laid down to enable a trial to proceed as though the accused had entered a not guilty plea.
  • It is also illegal under the Act for a person to falsely hold himself out as being a licensed bookmaker, remote bookmaker or remote betting intermediary. The sanctions are similar to those for illegally offering betting services, with a maximum fine on conviction on indictment of €100,000, or €250,000 in the case of repeat offences.

Related prohibitions

  • The Act makes it illegal to advertise an unlicensed bookmaker or remote bookmaker in Ireland, to provide internet services to an unlicensed remote bookmaker, or to sell or cause to be sold to the public a product that bears the name or logo of an unlicensed bookmaker.
  • In such circumstances a compliance notice may be issued by the Revenue Commissioners which may be appealed to the District Court. Failure to comply with a compliance notice is an offence punishable on summary conviction by a class A fine or a maximum term of imprisonment of 6 months, or both, or on conviction on indictment a maximum fine of €50,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 2 years, or both.
  • Criminal liability of companies extends to its officers where offences are committed by a company with their "consent or connivance".

The Licensing Process

The licensing process requires:

  • That each licensee or "relevant officer" must be:

    • in receipt of a certificate of personal fitness;
    • in receipt of a tax clearance certificate; and
  • The payment of the appropriate excise fee (€10,000 initial licence fee).
  • A licensee / company must also be in receipt of a certificate of suitability of premises where relevant.

Certificates of Personal Fitness (COPF)

  • The requirement for an individual who wishes to become a licensed bookmaker to apply to the authorities for a "certificate of personal fitness" continues and is extended to applicants for remote licences created by the Act.
  • The Act distinguishes between applications for certificates for a bookmaker's licence or remote licences. In the case of bookmaker's licences, Irish resident companies are subject to a local "certificate of personal fitness" requirement from a local Superintendent of the Garda Siochána (Irish police) while non-resident companies are required to apply directly to the Department of Justice and Equality for their certificates of personal fitness.
  • Irish companies will be deemed to be ordinarily resident at their registered office while an overseas corporate will be deemed to be ordinarily resident at its principal place of business.
  • In the case of persons applying for a remote bookmaker's licence or a remote betting intermediary licence, all applications for a certificate of personal fitness are made to the Department of Justice and Equality, irrespective of residence.

Who needs a COPF?

  • It is unclear exactly who must apply for a COPF. The definition of a "Relevant Officer" in the Act considers the possibility of three classes of persons, namely:

    • a person who exercises control in relation to the body corporate;
    • a member (including the chairperson) of the body, or the board or board of directors of the body, or any other person acting in such capacity; or
    • the managing director or CEO of the body, or any other person acting in such capacity.
  • However, Section 7 of the Act suggests that in relation to a body corporate, all relevant officers must apply for a COPF. Current Department of Justice and Equality website guidance indicates that a COPF will only be mandatory for a person who exercises control in respect of the body corporate. Further clarity is likely to emerge once the initial phase of licensing commences.
  • The application process for the COPF requires that an applicant register as a Data Controller with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner ("DPC"). Given that the regulations governing DPC registration would not necessarily otherwise apply to bookmakers, it remains to be seen how the DPC will process such applications.

Application process for a Certificate of Personal Fitness

  • A notice must be placed in two daily newspapers circulating in the State between one month and 14 days before an application for a COPF is made. The Gardaí / Department have a maximum of 56 days to consider the application and to notify the Revenue in writing of its decision.
  • The COPF is only valid for 21 days from its issue and so a licence application must be made within that timeframe. Where a licence then issues on the basis of a COPF, the certificate is valid until the expiration of that licence.

Refusal of a COPF

  • The grounds for refusal of a certificate are (a) financial circumstances (b) the existence of a relevant consideration, or (c) failure to comply with a request for information during the application process.
  • "Relevant considerations" are listed in section 6 of the Act and include (a) prior gambling, tax or theft convictions, (b) where a previous licence or COPF was revoked, (c) where a licence holder unreasonably refused to pay sums due on a winning bet, or (d) where a bookmaker's premises was operated in a disorderly manner which caused loitering.
  • A certificate may also be revoked by the Department of Justice and Equality if a ground for refusal arises subsequent to the issue of a certificate. It is an offence to give false or misleading information to the Gardaí or the Department during the application process for a COPF.

Appeal of Refusal or Revocation

  • A person or relevant officer who has been refused or has had revoked either a COPF or a certificate of suitability of premises has 14 days to request the Superintendent / Department of Justice & Equality to provide reasons for the refusal in writing.
  • On receipt of such reasons, a person has a further 14 days to appeal the refusal to the District Court, on notice to the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Justice / Superintendent as appropriate. No further appeal lies from the District Court.

Tax Clearance Certificates

  • A tax clearance certificate is also required for each licensee and each relevant officer. The Act expressly provides for the sharing of information by Revenue, the Department of Justice and the Gardaí. It also provides for the sharing of information with overseas gambling regulators.

Licence Terms and Fees

  • Licences for bookmakers, remote intermediaries and licensed bookmaker's premises will be issued for up to 24 months ending on 30 November the following year (for bookmakers) or 30 June (remote bookmakers and remote intermediaries).
  • Annual renewal fees are calculated on the turnover of the bookmaker / intermediary.

Registers of Licensed Bookmakers / Bookmaking operations

  • The Revenue Commissioner will establish and maintain Registers of Licenced Bookmakers and Remote Bookmaking Operations, which will be publicly accessible.

Betting by Minors

  • The Act introduces new penalties for engaging in a betting transaction (including creating a betting account) with a person under 18 years of age. Penalties include a Class A fine or a 6 month prison term on summary conviction, up to €50,000 or 2 years on indictment. However, the original defence in the 1931 Betting Act of having reasonable cause to believe the person was over 18 years survives in the Act.
  • The Act also makes it an offence for a person below the age of 18 to represent that they are over that age in order to enter into a bet with a bookmaker (including remote bookmakers) or to enter a bookmaker's premises. A person is liable on summary conviction to a class E fine (€500).


  • The Revenue Commissioners are given powers to bring certain summary prosecutions. In addition, the Minister for Justice and Equality has the power to seek a District Court revocation order for non-compliance by a bookmaker, remote betting intermediary or relevant officer.


The Act was commenced on 15 April 2015 and several aspects of the new regulatory regime are due to commence on 1 August 2015. Unlicensed operators providing betting services to customers in Ireland after that date will be committing an offence. The Department of Justice and Equality have published the forms required to apply for a COPF on their website while the Revenue Commissioners have issued guidance on the matter and advised that the appropriate licence application forms will be published shortly.


There are three key things to note from the Irish Act:

  • Act now! The Act was originally published in 2012 and has been a long time coming. However, there is very little time for companies to act if they are to ensure compliance by the 1 August deadline, particularly in circumstances where Revenue and Department of Justice guidance is continuing to emerge. While domestic operators have high visibility of the legislation, overseas betting operators and betting exchanges in particular should take immediate steps to commence the licensing application process if they are to meet the deadline.
  • Be warned – Sanctions Apply! The Act has been designed to encourage compliance through reasonably modest fees and a low tax rate but it has also addressed some of the concerns of operators that enforcement powers must be robust. There is likely to be significant pressure on the authorities to address non-compliance in early course if the Act is to sustain its integrity and credibility.
  • Limited Scope: While the commencement of the Act marks another step in the ongoing reform of the regulation of gambling in Ireland, it is quite limited in scope in that it only applies to bookmakers and betting exchanges. In July 2013, the Government published a General Scheme of a Gambling Control Bill which is intended in due course to address broader forms of gambling such as casino, poker, bingo, pari-mutuel betting, etc. However, that Bill will not progress before the end of the current government's term in Spring 2016 so casinos and other online gaming activities will continue to be largely prohibited in Ireland outside of very narrow confines.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions