New alternatives to the controversial plans by the Irish government to double betting tax will be debated in the Irish parliament this week.
Ireland’s betting industry has issued dire warnings about the future for the nation’s betting industry, following the announcement by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe of a gambling turnover tax rise from 1 percent to 2 percent in October’s Budget. The raise is set to take effect from January 1, 2019 and according to the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) could lead to the closure of as many as 400 retail betting shops in the country, along with the loss of 1,500 jobs.
But an Independent member of the Irish Parliament, Michael Healy-Rae has put forward an amendment to the Budget that would introduce an alternative tax solution of a 10 percent tax on the gross profits for betting shops, along with a 20 percent rate for online operators. The IBA, which backs the amendment, claims it would increase tax revenue by up to €25m. The amendment would also bring Ireland in line with a number of other jurisdications, including the UK, which tax betting companies on gross profits rather than turnover.
The amendment is due to be debated on Tuesday, along with two other alternative proposals: a call by Sinn Fein for a tax on stakes, and a suggestion by the Fianna Fail party that their should be a three-month impact assessment following the introduction of the new tax rate.
Meanwhile, the IBA is attempting to meet with the Department of Finance to outline its concerns and put forward alternative proposals, ahead of next week’s vote on the Finance Bill, but are not expecting a change of course. According to the Irish government, the tax increase will be used to fund both problem gambling treatment and investment into the racing industry.
Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at firstname.lastname@example.org.