The contentious issue of gambling companies subsidising the Irish horseracing industry came to the fore over the weekend as the Irish economic situation worsened and the prospect of EU bail-outs loomed closer.
The Irish Independent newspaper reported that the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (ITBA) has called for an increase in the levy paid by bookmakers from one percent to two percent claiming that this will reduce the need for Government subsidisation.
The bookmakers are unlikely to view the proposal favourably, bearing in mind that the Irish Government reduced the levy from two percent to one percent only two years ago.
Dr Dean Harron, ITBA president claimed: “Up to 85 percent of bookmakers’ turnover comes from racing and Ireland had the lowest rate of betting tax in the world.”
The Association cited the work of economist Colm McCarthy in claiming that the increased levy could raise between Euro 60 million and Euro 70 million per year. It also claimed that an alternative such as a betting duty on telephone or internet betting is easily evaded, and that its call is for licensing of internet, telephone and betting shops.