DUBLIN: Ireland’s government has pushed back plans to double betting tax over fears of job losses and a rise in unregulated gambling. A Freedom of Information Act request reported by The Times newspaper shows that Paschal Donohoe, the Finance Minister, decided not to change the rate but will reconsider an increase in next year’s budget.
The Times revealed that Donohoe considered three options that could have raised up to an extra €50m from bookies and punters as part of a review of the 1% betting tax, which is one of the lowest in the world.
Donohoe looked at doubling the tax, taxing the punter rather than operator and a special tax on the gross profits of bookmaking firms.
However, submissions over the plans, which came from the betting industry, horseracing industry, addiction services and private individuals, led to the minister deciding to delay any changes.
The betting industry warned that an extension of the tax could be “potentially damaging”, leading to the closure of businesses and job losses.
It was also suggested that taxing the punter would lead to them “seeking out alternative untaxed forms of betting or a move towards unlicensed operators”.
Of the gross profits plan, the document said. “From a revenue point of view there is less stability around the yield of the tax and it is more susceptible to changes in the trade environment.”