Announced as part of the Irish financial budget for 2020, bookmakers are expected to receive an annual €50,000 exemption from the 2% tax levied on gambling in the Republic that is expected to support the independent bookmaking sector of the state.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday announced that bookmakers across the Republic will not be subject to tax on the first € 50,000 in wagers they take in a year, but this will be subject to EU state aid laws.
Ireland’s independent sector faced an uphill battle in rivalry with larger gambling companies such as Paddy Power, Boylesports and Ladbrokes following last year’s doubling from one to two percent of betting income.
Although tax increases are expected to generate an additional € 95 million in 2019, as a result, many independent bookmakers had to close their doors. Bookmakers are forced to impose a tax on each bet tied to them, with the levy tied to State cash that is then used to fund the horse and greyhound racing industries.
The 2020 budget has stated that the Irish Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund will receive € 80 million in funding, of which € 67.2 million will go to Horse Racing Ireland (HRI)–an amount that remains the same as last year.
According to HRI’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh, the unchanged budget was due to the “stand still situation” over Brexit, and therefore the budget remaining the same was no surprise to him.
“All this is framed in a Brexit contest,” he said. “We have long terms plans to develop the industry and they will need funding. But the main short terms issue is Brexit and in the context of the threat of a no-deal Brexit it was never going to be a year of initiatives.
“It’s a stand still situation. We’ll have to take this away and look at the implications for our own budget. It will make the budget process trickier and tighter.
“But the more immediate priority is to get the country, and the equine industry, through the next few months.”
It was proposed that support for the sector could be improved again as a result of this year’s doubling of tax due to the expected increase in betting income, although Kavanagh stressed that HRI should investigate a variety of the state-based Brexit assistance funds to see if any equine companies could benefit.