Irish Finance Minister To Reconsider Betting Taxes

Jake Cooper | 29 Nov 2018

TaxIrish bookmakers and other interested parties are no doubt welcoming the news that the Irish Minister of Finance, namely Paschal Donohoe, is now keen to consider finding an alternative to the previously proposed doubling of taxes from 1% to 2%.

Shortly after the ministry had made known its intentions, the Irish Bookmaker’s Association (IBA) commissioned an impact study that outlined the effects that the tax hike would have not only on the sportsbetting and gambling industry, but also on the economy in general. Government had previously hoped that a doubling up on taxes would mean an additional €40 million in income for the State. According to the report, however, a more likely scenario is that government could actually suffer annual losses to the tune of €35 million.

Profit Should Be The Focus

The main concern for the IBA was that it predicted dire consequences in terms of unemployment, as most of the country’s independent betting shops would be forced to close doors due to the additional financial burden that the hike would be bringing about. IBA Chairperson Sharon Byrne mentioned these and other concerns, shortly after the details of the proposed budget for 2019 were made known.

The main problem is the fact that the proposals in terms of amendments were made in terms of gross turnover, instead of gross profit. Small businesses would simply be forced to close down in a matter of months. Since the release of the IBA-commissioned report, many politicians have expressed their concern at the proposed tax hikes, suggesting that increased taxes were levied on profits instead of on turnover.

Tax Hike A Necessary Evil

Despite having voiced his annoyance at the lateness of the hour during which the proposals for amendments have been made, Donnohoe did agree to re-evaluate his position on the matter. Obviously disturbed by the possibility of government suffering major financial losses, the Finance Minister has performed a bit of a back pedal on a matter that was previously considered to be set in stone.

In an obvious attempt to absolve his involvement in any nasty after-effects, Donohoe has now said that government would not be exploring increased tax avenues had it not been considered to be absolutely necessary and crucial.