A new study shows that doubling the betting tax could cost the Exchequer €35 million.

Ireland.- Ireland’s gambling industry is set to suffer major changes next year, as the Ministry of Finance announced its decision to increase the betting tax from 1% to 2%. A new study has revealed that the Exchequer of Ireland could lose €35 million from the hike.

The increase could cost significant job losses by putting more than 400 bookmaker shops in the territory out of business. Anthony Foley, the report author, said that the increase will directly hit smaller shops in small towns and villages.

The emeritus associate professor of economics at DCU explained in the report that the implementation of the new betting tax doesn’t consider the possible negative effects on the existing tax take from the sector in such as income tax, USC and PRSI and increased expenditure from unemployment due to job losses.

He also considers that the increase happened without a detailed analysis of the possible negative economic effects on the commercial viability and sustainability of bookmakers, “unlike the Department of Finance’s analysis of the hospitality VAT increase.”

“Arising from Exchequer revenue reduction, due to loss of other taxes, job losses and possible closures, the Exchequer losses could be in excess of the gain from the 100% increase in betting tax for the retail sector, if shop closure rates are at the rate predicted by the industry,” he added.

Sharon Byrne, chairwoman of the Irish Bookmakers Association, which commissioned the report, said that the organisation hoped the report would “highlight the fact that no costing was done in the Department of Finance for this measure,” The Independent reported.

“We are hoping that Minister Donohoe will see that the tax is flawed and might consider an amendment to bring in a more appropriate tax that can still bring in a lot more revenue for the Exchequer but in a fairer way that can keep the little guys open,” she added.

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