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NEWS 28 December 2017

Irish government rejects betting tax increase

By Robert Simmons
Ireland’s finance minister has dismissed proposals to increase the current 1% tax rate on revenue paid by the country's betting operators in the wake of outcry from the industry.

Paschal Donohoe, Irish Minister for Finance, was presented with three proposals by the Department of finance which could have potentially raised around €50m from locally-regulated bookmakers.

The first of these proposals, which was the most popular, was to increase the current tax rate from 1% to 2%. The second option was to tax the bettor, which sources at the Department of Finance stated would raise “the possibility of punters seeking out alternative untaxed forms of betting or a move towards unlicensed operators.”

Its final proposed option suggested a special tax on the gross profits of bookmaking firms, which said that: “There is no doubt that a move to gross profits would be of advantage to business as the level of tax payable will change in response to margins.

“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.” The final proposal was dismissed by the Minister, who said that it would require significant work before it could be enforced.

A total of thirteen separate betting firms lodged complaints about the proposals, stating that they could be potentially damaging to the industry and lead to the closure of many individual or smaller operators and job losses.

In a statement, the Department of Finance said: “The Minister received a number of submissions for possible inclusion in Budget 2018. He took the decision that any potential actions on foot of the Betting Tax Review should be considered as part of Budget 2019.”
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