The Sunday Times has this weekend published extracts of a letter written by Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) Executive Chairman Gary McGann to Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s Finance Minister pleading for Fine Gael not to pursue with a new betting tax regime.
The letter published under ‘the freedom of legislation’ act, sees McGann state that the Dáil approved/pending doubling of the Irish betting turnover tax to 2% would ‘disproportionately impact’ PPB as Ireland’s biggest bookmaker.
McGann the former Chief Executive of Dublin-founded packaging conglomerate Smurfit Kappa, questions Fine Gael’s motives for doubling betting taxes, at a period when the government seeks to attract foreign investment and international tech enterprises to Ireland.
PPB’s Chairman further brands the bookmaker as a tech and commercial powerhouse, which has managed to become globally recognised whilst maintaining its Irish foundations and profile.
In former government communications, the executive of PPB has formerly argued that a 2% increase in turnover betting would equate to circa +26% gross profit tax on online wagering activities, a figure way above the current European average on betting duties.
Closing his letter, McGann requests for an urgent meeting with Paschal Donohoe, an event that the Irish Treasury has confirmed did not take place.
Ordering a last-minute concession in November 2018, Donohoe delayed the implementation of the 2% betting tax charge, stating that Fine Gael would review its impact on betting shop closures and job losses.
However, speaking to Irish media at the start of the year, David Stanton Ireland’s Minister for State Equality & Integration declared that 2019 would see Fine Gael finally deliver a revamped Gambling Control Bill – regardless of Donohoe’s delay or cold feet on industry betting charges.