Proposed betting tax will close down bookmakers

The boom of betting shops in towns and cities throughout Ireland in recent years has not only highlighted the high level of gambling in the country, but also raised concerns over the changing face of high streets where several bookmaker outlets have set up.

The future of the sector is now in doubt however, according to the Irish Bookmakers Association, in light of proposals for the levy of a betting tax.

Responding to a statement from Horse Racing Ireland in relation to a proposed doubling of betting taxation, The Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA ) stated this week: “The IBA position in respect of the proposed doubling of betting tax on turnover is abundantly clear. A two per cent betting tax on turnover will close a substantial number of betting shops. It will lead to significant job losses and drive down the return to the exchequer from betting taxation.

“At no point has the IBA endorsed the doubling of betting taxation on turnover. The IBA has proposed a new approach to taxation on betting which would combine a licensing system – applied to all betting operators, be they in shops, over the telephone, or online – with taxation on profits, not turnover.

“The IBA believes that this approach would position Ireland as a very attractive location for investment from international operators offering betting services to a global market.”

Sharon Byrne, chairperson of the IBA, commented: “The IBA has always been of the view that the exchequer can derive more taxation from betting, but only if the right approach to betting taxation is adopted and all platforms are captured in the tax net, not just betting shops as has been the case to date.

“Doubling betting taxation on turnover would have a disastrous effect on the betting sector, and would actually drive down the tax take from betting by closing a significant number of betting shops.

“Doubling betting tax on turnover is a ‘lose lose’ situation – both for the betting sector and the exchequer.”

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