It might not be the week to discuss killjoy measures but the fact that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has been told that the “opportune time” to double betting tax had arrived suggests it may be. This department advice adds to the pressure to increase gambling taxes which, officials say, could yield €50m a year for a 1% increase. Do the maths.
The advice now seems appropriate as a growing swathe of the gambling market is controlled by international businesses that operate universally. The industry employs almost 7,000 people in Ireland, some of whom work for international organisations.
Though they are just two of the elements of the gambling industry horse racing and greyhound racing were subsidised to the tune of €80m last year: €64m for the horses, €16m for the dogs. The FAI got nearly €50m over the last decade. As is always the case it is necessary to dig deeply to understand what or who is actually being subsidised by this largesse.
That issue, and the official betting tax advice, suggest Mr Donohoe has a very good argument for immediate action.