Finance Minister confirms review of Irish betting tax

According to the Times, the Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has confirmed a decision to review plans to double betting tax, after warnings from Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) that the move would lead to significant job losses.

The decision means there is likely to be a delay to the potential tax hike, which were due for implementation at the commencing of 2019, it’s also possible the review could lead to the plans being eradicated entirely. The issue will be thrust back into the forefront of Irish politics in first quarter of 2019, when Donohoe issues his report to finance.

Issuing a statement after the budget announcement, Sharon Byrne, Chair of the IBA emphasised that the government had been careless in introducing its new tax charges. Furthermore, the IBA branded the government’s €50 million tax income as a ‘fantasy target’, as the Department of Finance had failed to consult the Irish betting industry.

Byrne stated: “Already since the Budget measures were announced, I have spoken to a number of small independent bookmakers, some of whom have been in business for more than 40 years, who now believe they have no option but to let their staff go and close their doors.

“We predict that there will be 300 shops closed when the tax is enacted with the loss of at least 1500 jobs.”

This was followed up by Ireland’s second largest operator, Boylesports releasing the following communication to staff, in response to the potential tax increase: “We are committed to making Government and all relevant agencies understand the impact this poorly-considered policy will have on the sector, our business, us and our families.

“We will take all steps available to safeguard our business, our industry and most importantly the employment of all our people.”

Ladbrokes also revealed the impending tax could lead to it shrinking its presence in the country and easing to operate its sponsorship and on-course bookmaking activity at some of the country’s racecourses.