Tuesday may 20,2014 : IRISH RETAIL BOOKIES URGE IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW BETTING ACT
Revised gambling laws will help level the playing field in the competition with online gambling.
The Irish Bookmakers Association has urged the government to expedite the implementation of the Betting Amendment Bill, warning that 500 jobs and Euro 16 million could be lost if delays are allowed to continue.
Chairperson Sharon Byrne painted a worrying picture of the retail betting sector in a three page briefing document from the Association, which represents 70 percent of Irish bookmakers.
She said that the sector is in a severe decline, with 366 betting shops closed – a 27 percent drop since 2008 in the number of shops, and the concomitant loss of around 1,700 jobs.
Competition from online bookmaking companies in terms of tax and round-the-clock availability advantages had all contributed to a playing field that was not level, she said, voicing the hope that the Betting Amendment Act would relieve the situation,
“With 500 jobs being lost unnecessarily and antiquated legalization that continues to allow tax free betting, we hope time can be found to get the legalization through before summer recess,” Byrne said.
The IBA argues that reform of the taxation system is needed, where, at present, bookmakers pay a one percent tax on turnover, and contribute around Euro 30 million to Horse Racing Ireland for picture rights.
“This tax is paid on Turnover and not profits, which means even if the bookmaker is losing money, he must pay this penal tax rate. No other form of gambling pays this duty, so online and mobile operators have a severe competitive advantage as a result,” the report notes.