Posted 2/14/11 : Not content with spreading the tax net to internet betting companies, some politicians want an increase
 
According to reports from the Irish Press Association, some Labour Party politicians in that country are not content with extending the tax net to online gambling operators…they would now like to ratchet up the rate from 1 percent to 1.5 percent.
 
Party Leader Eamon Gilmore is apparently behind the move, which is unlikely to be well received by operators.
 
Gilmore wants the extra income to go to the Irish Horse and Greyhound Fund, which helps support the racing industry, with the politician contending that this would relieve the government of further subsidies for racing.
 
The Labour Party apparently sees the recent extension of the tax net as another opportunity to give the industry – a consultation is already being proposed – more money to maintain horse racing prizes at a higher level than in other European countries.
 
In related news, The Racing Post reports that the Italian horseracing industry is also under pressure, and has unveiled statistics showing that betting turnover on the sport in Italy for 2010 was about Euro1.7 billion, a drop of 12.7 percent compared to the 2009 figure of Euro1.98 billion, and a trend the reverse of that in other gambling sectors in the country.
 
Analysts are apparently pessimistic, predicting that the decline appears to be continuing into 2011, with January figures down some 17 percent on last year.
 
The recent government pledge to inject Euro150 million will certainly help the Italian racing industry in the short term, but critics claim that this support merely papers over the cracks in a beleaguered sport.
 
The oversight body for the industry, UNIRE, has claimed it is already studying the problem in concert with the government.