International edition
June 14, 2021

The current 1 % tax raised around 30 million euros last year

Minister calls for higher betting tax in Ireland

(Ireland).- Higher betting tax should be part of the next Budget and cuts brought in under Fianna Fáil-led governments were “crazy”, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said. Emphasising that this was a personal view, he said he would be recommending the increase to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

My view is that the racing industry, whether it is greyhounds or horses, should be able to finance itself by having an appropriate level of betting tax in Ireland that applies both for online betting and in betting shops.” He also added: “And I think that the decision to effectively reduce what was once a ten per cent betting tax down to one per cent, which has resulted in a significant decline in revenue coming from betting tax, was crazy, and I think it should be reversed.”

“The first thing the Government has to do - and we are in the process of doing it - is to actually extend betting tax to online betting,” he said.

The Department of Finance was preparing legislation to tax online betting and the Minister was confident an effective system for doing so could be introduced. He told reporters today on a visit to Glenties, Co Donegal to speak at the MacGill Summer School: “We need to ensure that that betting is also taxed on its turnover.”

The Minister said he was confident the bloodstock industry had a secure future but he added: “I need to ensure that it’s properly funded and I would like to ensure that it’s self-funded by a taxation on betting. “I’m not satisfied that the decisions of governments over the last 15 years have been the correct ones - to reduce betting tax by 10 % of turnover down to 1 % of turnover.

“As a result we have to actually supplement the horse and greyhound fund with exchequer money, which is crazy when it actually could be self-financing,” he pointed.Betting tax was reduced from 10 % in stages down to 1 %, mainly on the initiative of former finance minister Charles McCreevy.

The current 1 % tax last year raised around 30 million euros last year and is expected to yield the same this year. However, this was insufficient to fund and promote the racing industry, the minister said. “The first thing the government has to do and we are in the process of doing it is to actually extend betting tax for online, through websites.”

The online betting tax legislation will also require websites receiving money from Ireland to have a specific licence, a process currently underway in Britain. The Minister said there was continuing international interest in Ireland’s bloodstock industry. “Only last week I met with groups from Morocco, Turkey and Korea who have horse racing interests here and want to buy mares and stallions from here to get better blood in their stock,” he said.

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