Given the success of internet betting, high street bookmakers in Ireland continue to struggle, though still offer employment opportunities for thousands, but on Thursday this week Irish Bookmakers Association chair Sharon Byrne issued a clear-cut word of caution of potential job losses in the sector amid a potential betting tax increase.
Next Tuesday October 9th, Irish minister for finance Paschal Donohue will announce his budget and there is a real possibility that this will include the increased taxes on betting from 1% to 2% which could mean a revenue growth of more than €50 million.
It’s thought Byrne’s concerns come from an Irish Examiner article in which unnamed sources infer that the Independent Alliance, a smaller concern within the Fine Gael government, have managed to convince the minister for finance to make the increase.
Aside from the fact that the €50 million haul is far from a certain number for the government, this tax and the relatively small amount it would really bring in is essentially simply a tax that will cost jobs in the sector which will surely create more problems than it solves.
It is estimated by the Irish Bookmakers Association that doubling the betting tax could promptly make over 300 betting shops unfeasible to maintain leading to potentially 1,500 job losses.
The Irish horseracing industry is not singing from the same hymn sheet on this one, Horse Racing Ireland having long since pushed for this increase themselves in order to find a more permanent source of funding for the sport.
Ireland has already lost 500 of its betting shops since 2008, with around 2,500 jobs having gone in that time. Whether the loss of more shops and more jobs within the bookmaking industry is worth it for a more sustainable funding mechanism, specifically within horse racing, is a major bone of contention.
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Having been immersed in the worlds of sports betting and writing for the past 20 years, Gary Christie has vast experience on the subjects. He has produced content for various leading websites, including both TVG and Mr Green Casino. Contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org.