Irish Betting Tax Increase – Bookmaker News

Irish tax increase predicted to devastate country's independent bookmakers

Bookmaker News

Ireland’s bookmakers, small and large, are awaiting news of a review over the decision to double the tax that bookmakers are obliged to pay on amassed turnover from one to two per cent.

The Irish Government’s Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, outlined the planned legislative change during his 2019 Budget speech to the Dáil Éireann and it came into effect on January 1. The Government is bidding to level the playing field by extending tax due to remote bookmakers and betting exchanges but several prominent industry stakeholders, as well as independents, have voiced concerns surrounding the damaging effects that the tax hike could have on the Irish gambling industry.

The Government did indicate that that they may be prepared to review the new tax laws after the first financial quarter but as they are expected to earn up to €50million for the Irish treasury, bookmakers aren’t holding their breath.

Independents claim that 10 Irish betting shops have been forced to close since the turn of the year and they want a gross profits tax instead of a tax on turnover to relieve some of the pressure. Independent operators are more prevalent in the Irish Republic than in the UK and are feeling had done by. Their trade association is predicting more job losses as the full implications of the tax rise become more apparent.

They already feel there isn;t enough incentive to keep battling for customers with the likes of Dublin-based Paddy Power, Betbright and Boylesports, who all have a powerful online presence and corner almost the entire internet market and are able to offer enhanced odds and bonuses in comparison to the independents, who rely in foot fall to keep their heads above water.

The independents’ main hope may lie with a study by Dublin City University Emeritus Associate Professor Anthony Foley, which casts doubt on the government’s projection that the new tax rate will eventually bring €50 million in new revenue. In the event that 400 shops close, as predicted, Foley says the government will actually lose money and will have shot itself in the foot but it would be unlikely that any repeal of the new law could not be brought about until next year at the earliest and that could be too late for a lot of smaller businesses.