During the Finance Bill 2016 debate in the Oireachtas, Minister of State Eoghan Murphy gave a commitment that betting duty would be examined as part of the Tax Strategy Group process in 2017. This reviews the roll out of the betting regime to remote bookmakers and betting exchanges in 2015, as well as looking at the likely impact of an increase in the rates of betting duty on

  1. Exchequer revenues – including potential for unlicensed operators,
  2. the bookmaking industry including the remote sector.

 

Please click here for full version of our submission to Betting tax review 2017 final

Our submission to the review can be summarised as follows;

The retail bookmaking sector has undergone a severe decline over the past decade. Total stakes declined from €3.6 billion in 2007 to €2.8 billion in 2016. The number of retail land-based betting establishments declined from 1365 to 851 between 2008 and 2016 . The difficulties apply to the larger operators as well as smaller ones. Celtic bookmakers went into receivership, Hackett’s went into liquidation, William Hill exited the Irish market and Ladbrokes went into examinership over the past several years.

There has been an increase in stakes in recent years but the current level is well below the 2007 level. This decline has arisen from the economic collapse, penal betting tax, increased fixed costs, loss of revenue to illegal operators and severe competition from internet based betting platforms.

The sector still provides a significant economic contribution with regionally spread employment, over 8,000 jobs and tax receipts of €65 million. Until 2015, the retail betting sector was the sole contributor to betting tax, which put it at a severe competitive disadvantage to all other types of betting operators.

The new betting regime introduced in 2015 has attracted a reasonable number of remote licences and has generated a substantial increase in tax revenues from the two new platforms (Online operators & Exchanges) of €22.6 million. In recognition of the severe disadvantage retail operators have had for many years, and to save thousands of jobs, the Tax Strategy Group should consider lowering the 1% tax rate for shops with turnover of €2m or less per year, and this should be financed by using part of the increased receipts from the extension of the tax net.

The Irish Bookmakers Association has based its recommendations in this submission on three principles; all sectors of gambling should be included in the betting tax net (some activities such as the national lottery and the Tote are still excluded), the tax regime should support the hard-pressed retail sector because of its economic, regional and employment roles and the overall tax regime should be internationally competitive to encourage both the domestic and incoming enterprises.

In response to the questions and issues posed by the Department of Finance for the review of betting tax, the IBA:
• welcomes the inclusion in 2015 of the remote sector in the betting licence and tax regime and this should continue. In addition, all other forms of betting and gambling should be brought into the betting tax net.
• argues that there should be no increase in the current 1% tax on turnover and, given the decline of, and the past, current and future competitive difficulties of the retail sector, there is a case for a reduction, especially for lower turnover shops. An increase would eliminate a large proportion of the current network of shops.
• recommends that a lower betting tax rate of 0.25% should apply to low turnover retail betting shops.
• believes that due to the short duration of the new betting tax regime, with only one full calendar year of receipts, the existing rates of tax and licence fees on the remote sector should be retained
• recommends that there should not be a switch from the bookmaker paid tax to a punter based tax

For further information or any queries, please contact;
Sharon Byrne, Chairperson, Irish Bookmakers Association. 046 9557 090