As announced in the Budget I have increased the rate of betting duty from 1 per cent to 2 per cent for all bookmakers and the rate of betting intermediary duty from 15% to 25% on the commission earned for betting intermediaries. These measures will take effect from 1 January 2019.
The Government’s priority has been to level the playing field by extending the tax to remote bookmakers and betting exchanges. This was achieved in 2015, via the Betting Amendment Act, and I believe it is now timely to increase the rates of betting duty and betting intermediary duty. Some of you here will remember when betting tax was 20% of turnover. In fact, the last time the betting duty rate increased was in 1975. Furthermore, it is also worth pointing out that the standard bookmaker’s licence fee, at €500 for a two year period, is modest and has not increased since 1992. I appreciate the concerns raised by the betting sector following the budget. However, this increase must be seen in the context of the rate being at an all-time low. It is also worth pointing out that VAT generally does not applies to betting services, also there are on-course exemptions from betting duty, and last but not least, the fact that there is a raised public consciousness on the social costs of problem gambling.
I acknowledge that the market has moved towards online betting and this has brought ongoing competitive challenges to smaller independent bookmakers. I acknowledge that advances in technology have challenged existing business models and have changed the structure of many markets, including the betting market. While I have sympathy for small bookmakers I cannot apply the increase to some bookmakers and not others.