Irish Sports Betting World Prepares for Tax Apocalypse
Across Ireland, employees of the Irish-facing sports betting industry are prepping for an impending tax increase that bookmakers are calling, “apocalyptic”. The new tax regulations, which are set to take effect in 2019, will effectively double the amount of taxes bookies pay to the government.
According to the Irish Examiner, Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe is implementing a new set of tax regulations that increase the taxes bookmakers pay from one percent of their turnover to two percent.
While that may not seem high, it’s absolutely devastating in a low profit margin business like sports betting. Irish bookies point to the fact that since the one percent tax was introduced in 1999, more than 2,500 betting shops have closed down.
Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) spokeswoman Sharon Byrne described the new taxes as a sort of doomsday device for the industry saying, “The entire sector is devastated, we’ve lost 450 shops in the last eight years, and now as it had just started to stabilise, this change to double the tax will wipe them out…This will kill the industry, for a different type of service a localised service, they’ve just made it extinct.”
Government officials, not surprisingly, have a different take on the impact of the new tax scheme. They’re hoping that the increased cash will raise as much as €51.6 million ($59.3 million USD) annually. Much of that money will be used to prop up the struggling Irish horse racing industry.
Representatives for the Irish gambling industry say they’re preparing a grass roots campaign to halt the new taxes before they go into effect at the beginning of 2019. At the same time, they’re also preparing for what Byrne called, “the end of our sector.”