The Irish budget delivered bad news for gambling outlets in the country, as it was revealed that betting tax would be doubled to two per cent.
The new could be severely damaging to betting and gaming operators within Ireland, namely Paddy Power, BoyleSports and Ladbrokes, additionally a further 200 independent bookmakers are likely to feel the impact and perhaps even face closure after the implementation of the tax increase.
Furthermore, the impact of the hike is only likely to be heightened by the lack of progress with the revamped Irish Gambling Bill which remains in a state of limbo.
As reported by the Racing Post, Sharon Byrne, chairperson of the Irish Bookmakers Association warned the effects of the budget will be far reaching: “Over the last eight to ten years we have already lost 450 shops, all of which were independents, of which only 200 have survived, and they are now gone in one swipe of the pen.”
Further warning of the potentially daunting implications, she continued: “We had 1,365 shops in 2008. We were down to 850 and it had kind of stabilised this year. Now, the 200 independents that were able to survive have no hope. I’ve taken calls from them all morning – they are distraught. I’m calling an emergency meeting of the association for Friday morning to see what we can do.
“Fifteen minutes before the minister made the announcement he had just been talking about how important it was to save all the little jobs in the country and provide support to small companies, and then he wipes out these shops across the country.
“It will force punters to off-shore operators and black markets. Most of these towns only have one shop and they are going to be gone, so punters will either go online or to the black market.”