Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is putting the brakes on a plan to double his country’s current tax on gambling. Donohoe, and other government officials are worried that such a massive increase would create job losses and push punters towards illegal gambling operations.
Donohoe’s plan to double the current tax on gambling operators from one percent to two percent never got far in the legislative process and met with immediate scorn from representatives of the gaming industry. When discussing the formal feedback (or “submissions”) he received on the matter, Donohoe said the following to the Irish Mirror:
A total of 13 submissions were received. Of these, eight were from the betting/gaming industry, two were from the horse racing industry, one from the addiction advocacy service and two from individuals.
If enacted, the proposal would have raised approximately €50 million annually. While that’s a lot of extra cash for government coffers, Donohoe decided that the potential job losses for smaller bookmakers would have offset the benefits of extra revenue.
Donohoe also nixed an idea of additional taxes on individual wagers, citing it is as a potential boost to illegal gambling operations saying:
There is] the possibility of punters seeking out alternative untaxed forms of betting or a move towards unlicensed operators.
Besides potential job losses, Donohoe pointed out the fact that any increase in gambling taxes would actually result in increased subsidies for the horse and dog racing industries and that isn’t a good look for government.
While the gambling tax increase has been shelved for now, Donohoe left the door open for more creative, and less jarring, tax increases in the future.
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