Bookmakers Ladbrokes could be on the verge of ending all of their on-course bookmaking activity in Ireland, in response to the doubling of the country’s betting tax. Under the tax rise, which was announced in October, the betting tax rate will double from 1 percent to 2 percent from January 2019.
Speaking in the Irish media, the Director of Ladbrokes Ireland, Jackie Murphy, also suggested that the tax rise could result in the company ending its sponsorship of races at the eight venues where it currently operates – Limerick, Killarney, Punchestown, Listowel, Navan, Gowran Park and Clonmel – as these operations would no longer be seen as profitable. According to Murphy, the only venue where Ladbrokes is likely to seek an extension to its existing contract is Punchestown, as the high profile televised races held at the course offer considerable exposure.
The warning from Ladbrokes comes soon after Boylesports also said it would be reconsidering its sponsorship deals in Ireland, which constitute a significant portfolio including the Irish Greyhound Derby and the Irish Grand National. Boylesports has also suggested that jobs are at risk as a result of the government decision, which has caused alarm in the Irish betting industry.
At the time of the tax announcement, the Irish Bookmakers Association warned that the industry was in a precarious state, having shrunk from 1,365 shops in 2008 to 850, and that the tax would have huge implications, particularly for the smaller independent bookmakers.
The Association has also warned that the closure of many bookmakers in Ireland as a result of the tax would lead to punters switching to off-shore or illegal operators, reducing the overall revenue total for the Irish government, as in many Irish towns, there was only one betting retail outlet.
Steven is a seasoned freelancer writer from Coventry in the UK. He specialises in writing about the gambling industry and aims to provide unbiased, trustworthy and high quality content to the public. Whilst away from his freelance writing work he enjoys watching the football and following the F1.