The Irish retail betting sector has been in steep decline since 2008. Apart from market contraction caused by recession, a 1% betting tax is causing severe difficulties.
Independent bookmakers, many of whom are in business for over 30 years, are a sector of the industry that has been abandoned. From a high of 1365 betting shops in 2008, there have been 481 closures causing over 2,500 job losses.
The IBA has prepared a budget submission demonstrating how a betting tax at 1% for retail operators is causing massive job losses and the entire submission can be downloaded here: Betting Tax Submission 2015
- Retail betting is a major employer in Ireland with over 8000 direct jobs
- Taxation contribution by the sector to the exchequer is significant
- Taxation, antiquated legislation and recessionary factors cause arduous tradingconditions for Independent bookmakers
- Proposed taxation changes are unworkable and would cause massive closuresjob losses and significant reduction in exchequer funding
- Racing Pictures and Data costs have soared in last 8 years, with much of theincreased reveue going to Racing
- Retail betting contribution to Irish racing far outweighs the revenue generated
- All relevant sectors should contribute fairly to Racing
The direct contribution made by the betting industry to the Irish economy in terms of employment, taxation paid by employees, VAT, betting tax, commercial rates, and the income multiplier effect, is very significant. Betting offices are located in towns, cities and villages around the country and are a very important source of employment across Ireland. Land based operators should not be compared or treated the same as online operators due to the labour intensive nature of their business, high fixed cost base per unit, and the contributions made to local economies.
Licensed betting offices typically occupy prime real estate locations. In a more difficult economic environment, with considerable office and retail space vacant, it would not be desirable to have these betting offices shutting down, cutting the contribution to local rates and adding to the excess supply of office and retail space available.
The Irish Bookmakers Association requests that Ireland’s policy makers should now prioritise reforms to create a regulatory and fiscal environment that protects indigenous jobs, provides a level playing field for the betting industry and maximises the return to the exchequer from our sector.