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Irish betting tax one of the lowest in the world – Ó Clochartaigh

4 December, 2013

Speaking in the Seanad today on the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund 2014, Sinn Fein Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said:

“Horse racing receives significant public funding in Ireland.

“We accept that horse racing has a social, economic, and cultural place in Irish life that can be pointed to in justifying a positive policy stance towards the industry.

“However it is not clear that such a policy stance should extend to the provision of public funding nor, if public funding is justified, that it should dictate the level of support that is required or the means through which it should be provided.

“The main beneficiary from horse racing is betting rather than the racing industry.

“This tells us that the Government needs to address the issue of excise on betting, especially as it relates to off-course betting.

“Currently Ireland has one of the lowest rates of betting tax in the world.

“This situation is not acceptable and needs to be addressed urgently.

“In the UK, the betting industry pays an effective tax rate of 3% of turnover, three times higher than Ireland and in France legislation provides for taxation of 15% of turnover, fifteen times higher than Ireland, of which 8% is returned to the French Equine industry.

“At a minimum, future policy needs to assess carefully the public benefit that is served by state support for horse racing and the priority it should be accorded in expenditure decisions.

“Public policy also needs to take greater account of the role of horse racing in fostering and promoting gambling and in the possible social costs that may arise as a result.”

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