Ireland Should Increase Betting Duty To Fund More Sports, Says FAI

June 12, 2023
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The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has renewed its plea for the government to increase the betting duty for land-based and online bookmakers from 2 percent to 3 percent.

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The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has renewed its plea for the government to increase the betting duty for land-based and online bookmakers from 2 percent to 3 percent.

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill made the call for the increase at a press conference to announce a new 15-year plan for football infrastructure.

Hill said: “We have started discussions already with the Department of Sport and Sport Ireland. They have been very positive. They are supportive of any proposal that brings the wider debate of funding sport to the table.”

The FAI plan will cost a total of €863m, with €517m of the investment, or 60 percent, expected from the government. That would equate to €34.5m per year on average.

Earlier this year, the FAI submitted a separate report to the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, compiled by Dublin-based KHSK Economic Consultants, questioning why €1.5bn in public funds had been diverted to the horse and greyhound racing governing bodies between 2001 and 2021.

Currently, the 2 percent betting levy generates around €100m a year, which the FAI claims is only split between the greyhound and horse racing governing bodies, with the latter receiving 80 percent of it.

The report estimates betting on horse and greyhound racing only accounts for around 50 to 60 percent of the total revenue generated by the betting tax.

However, highlighting the funding received by greyhound and horse racing has drawn criticism from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and government officials claim there is no longer a link between the betting tax and the funding of horse and greyhound racing bodies.

FAI chair Roy Barrett said: “The most reasonable option is not to take away from existing sports, as there is clearly a dependence on it, but to increase the yield from the levy. So increase the levy.”

Currently, on-course bookmakers or tote bets do not pay any betting duty.

Separately, in December 2022, Ireland’s justice minister Helen McEntee published the country's long-awaited Gambling Regulation Bill 2022, 66 years after its current primary gambling law was introduced.

The bill sets out the country’s new regulatory framework and licensing rules; however, it does not set out specifics regarding taxes or changes to the betting levy.

But the draft legislation does pave the way for the establishment of the new Gambling Regulatory Authority.

The regulator is expected to become operational in Autumn 2023 and the Department of Justice has already pledged more than €1m to help with its creation.

The bill is currently before Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish legislature, and is in its Third Stage, with the 11th stage being the bill becoming enacted.

On April 4, 2023, Ireland also notified the European Commission about the bill.

The notification's standstill period ends on July 5, 2023. This three-month standstill period will allow the European Commission and other member states to review the content of the regulation and submit appropriate responses if they wish.

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