No one likes a tax increase, but it looks as if the Republic of Ireland government is going to double the gambling tax in the country, from 1 to 2%.
The move has been on the cards for a while as the government seeks ways to balance its books. It’s believed the move will be confirmed when Finance Minister Paschal Donohue reveals the nation’s fiscal plan for 2019, on Tuesday October 9.
Although gambling taxes form a small share of the estimated €3.4b budget, doubling the gambling tax is expected to see a further €50m per year heading in the direction of the Irish government. It’s believed that some of the additional revenue will be used to fund programmes aimed at mitigating problem gambling behaviour. Also expected to benefit from the gambling tax increase will be the Irish horse-racing industry.
The government’s budget will undergo debate by legislators but the fact the increase is being considered is a victory for the four members of the Independent Alliance. They have been pushing for the gambling tax to be doubled as part of negotiations with the Irish government in July regarding the next budget. Ireland’s minority Fine Gael government relies on the Independent Alliance to get their legislation passed.
Not Good News for Independent Bookies
One plus is that Horse Racing Ireland had been calling for an increase to 2.5%. It’s not known if the Irish government also plan to amend its taxation of betting exchanges. At present they pay 15% on commissions received.
The Irish Bookmakers Association recently stated that the number of betting shops in the country had fallen from 1,300 ten years ago to just 800. They warn that any tax rise would severely hit independent bookmakers and lead to further shops being closed and jobs lost.
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Steve Ashfield is a freelance writer who has a wide range of experience covering various aspects of the gambling industry. Over the years he has edited professional wrestling magazines, written horse racing tips, and covered news on a variety of different sports. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.