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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 10 Nov 1976

Vol. 293 No. 10

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Illegal Betting.


asked the Minister for Finance when he proposes to initiate legislation governing betting offices and illegal betting in view of the enormous amount of illegal betting being carried on both inside and outside the State at present and the penalties he intends to impose especially in cases of illegal betting carried on in public houses.

I intend to introduce amending legislation as early as possible; the relevant penalties will be considered in consultation with the Attorney General.

What does the Minister mean by saying he intends to introduce legislation shortly? In the meantime will he instruct the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for operating this legislation and also the collection of the tax, to have a more detailed investigation of the illegal betting that is carried on in public houses, particularly in the Dublin area?

I will certainly bring to the notice of the Revenue Commissioners the remarks of the Deputy regarding what he considers to be illegal betting. I certainly join with him in asking that action be taken against any illegal conduct of this nature.

When will the Minister be in a position to introduce legislation?

It is only fairly recently that I received a report of the inter-departmental committee on the matter. I can assure the Deputy of my anxiety to introduce amending legislation as quickly as possible.

Is the Minister satisfied that he is getting an adequate return from the betting tax at the moment? According to the figures he gave here last week it seems that the betting turnover in those offices in the country is £30 million approximately while in the Six Counties with one-third the number of betting offices the turnover is now £36 million. Would the Minister agree that something should be done urgently in order to ensure that this illegal betting is prevented as a result of the comparison of those two figures where we have a population of three million here and one-and-a-half million in the Six Counties?

The Deputy might be assuming that the only explanation for the difference in the figures is attributable to illegal betting outside of licensed bookmakers' premises. That would be an incorrect assessment to make, but I have already indicated——

It is a fair good one.

——that I would be anxious to see that action be taken against illegal betting.

Would the Minister agree that the way to deal with the problem would be to lower the 20 per cent tax on off-course betting?——

We are now having an extension of this question.

A lower rate of tax in order——

This seems to be a separate matter, Deputy.