It’s official: Ireland has gone tax crazy and Ladbrokes is one of the first casualties. The operator, currently running on-course bookie operations at eight different racecourses in the country, has said that it will no longer be involved in any race sponsorships. The affected racecourses are Killarney, Galway, Limerick, Punchestown, Gowran Park, Clonmel, Punchestown and Listowel.
Ladbrokes spoke to a local media publication and explained that it may continue its involvement with Punchestown, but that no final decision has been made as of yet. A contributing factor may be that its contract with this particular venue only expires in 2020. Contracts with the remaining seven venues either expire towards the end of this year, or at the beginning of 2019.
Ireland’s Minister of Finance, Paschal Donohoe, recently announced during the deliverance of the new budget speech, that come January 2019, betting tax will double up from 1% to 2%. According to Donohoe, the hope was that the increase would bring about an additional €40 million in income, a portion of which is expected to be channelled towards gambling-related charities.
However, experts have warned that this figure will in all probability not materialise. What’s more, not only will the increased financial pressure cause many operators to close doors, but there will be multiple job losses to be absorbed by the Irish economy, as a result of the businesses closing down.
It will be near impossible to pass the additional burden on to the bettor, and bookies will have to bear the additional financial brunt. It may be so that a number of the larger bookmakers will be in a position to do this, if only just, but smaller businesses will not survive the amendments to tax structures.
They simply do not have the extra resources to fall back on. The smaller businesses are the ones that employ the most people, as these operations may be small, but they are spread out all over the country.
The fact is, if an operator the size and stature of Ladbrokes cannot see a way forward in order to continue doing business in Ireland, how will a smaller business achieve the near impossible?
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