The Government’s proposal to hike Betting Tax by 100 percent will cost jobs in the South East, including 53 jobs in Waterford and 77 jobs in Tipperary, according to an analysis by the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA).
Based on its engagement with members since Budget 2019 was announced last Tuesday, the IBA estimates that nine bookmakers will close in Waterford and 13 in Tipperary.
36 jobs will also be lost in Carlow, 43 in Kilkenny, 55 in Wexford and 53 in Wicklow, says the IBA.
“We are shocked that the Government could allow a 100 percent tax increase on our sector without fully understanding the financial and human cost of this move,” says IBA chairperson Sharon Byrne.
“It is not just the direct costs involved that are the issue, it is the thousands of families that depend on their jobs in a betting shop and the suppliers that service the sector that will be affected too.
“The pain will be particularly acute in rural Ireland where it is often more difficult for people to find alternative employment. For some big chains this will mean shop reductions but for already many smaller independent operators, most of whom have been an integral part of their local community for decades, expect to be wiped out by this measure.
“There is no business in Ireland that could take a 100 percent increase in its tax. The only increase this will achieve will be in job losses and shop closures. Several hundred people across Ireland are now wondering if their shop will be closed for good on New Year’s Day. I’d love to be able to say they won’t be affected and offer them some comfort but I can’t. This is totally in the hands of the Government and its officials”.
The one percent betting tax contributed to the closure of over 500 betting shops in the past 10 years. The 100 percent increase in the betting tax proposed in Budget 2019 is likely to lead to a further 300 shop closures, resulting in an estimated 1,500 direct job losses across the country, the IBA adds.
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