Irish Sports Push For Betting Levy Increase 

September 19, 2023
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Irish sports organisations have called on the government to increase the betting levy from 2 to 3 percent. 
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Irish sports organisations have called on the government to increase the betting levy from 2 to 3 percent.

The Federation of Irish Sport’s (FIS) “Pre Budget Submission 2024” was published on September 13, asking the government for additional funding and highlighting ways in which it can find the extra money.

The FIS said it “understands the importance of Irish Horseracing as both a sport and an important industry”, adding it has “no wish to enter into the debate as to what all monies raised by the current betting levy of 2 percent should be distributed more widely”.

“However, we do believe strongly that the levy should be raised to 3 percent and that the additional monies raised should be invested in sport and physical activity as a whole,” the FIS said.

The FIS suggests earmarking the additional funds to tackle “major addiction through the medium of sport” and develop grassroots sport and youth participation in sport.

“It is essential that the sports sector is engaged and empowered to lead and play a role in any deliberate, focused and sustained interventions to combat the spiralling gambling harms in Ireland,” the FIS said.

The FIS represents the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) in Ireland, including the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Swim Ireland and Athletics Ireland.

The FAI made the same demand for an increase to the betting levy several times this year. 

An FAI report earlier this year claimed the betting levy generates around €100m a year, which the FAI claims is only split between the greyhound and horseracing governing bodies, with the latter receiving 80 percent of it.

James Browne, the minister of state at the Department of Justice, who oversees gambling policy, recently called the findings of a report on children and gambling “deeply troubling”. 

He also suggested the findings reinforce the need for a watershed gambling advertising ban between 5:30am and 9:00pm.

If the gambling watershed is introduced as proposed, it has been claimed by numerous horseracing stakeholders that it will heavily impact their business and some broadcasters have indicated it may no longer be financially viable to air races.

The Irish government is now looking to balance protecting its racing industry while also dealing with growing public and political concerns of gambling-related harms.

The budget will be announced on October 10.

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