Ivan Yates calls for tax-free betting in Ireland

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The former Irish Government Minister, and owner of the 34-shop Celtic Bookmaker chain, called on Irish Finance Minister Brian Cowan to reduce the present two per cent off-course betting tax.

Throughout Ireland punters pay the tax when placing their bets, except in areas of intense competition where the shops bear the tax themselves.

Yates said the climate is right for zero tax and to make the situation the same for punters across the country, both on-course and off-course in the shops, on the internet and on the exchanges.

But he would leave the Minister the decision “whether the rate should be one per cent or whether we should be charged a gross profits tax as in the UK.”

“A reduction would not represent largesse by the Minister but would be a recognition of market reality based on what is happening via Gibraltar, Malta, the Isle Of Man, etc,” he added.

Finance Minister Cowan said the discussions with the bookmakers started in July and while most indicated a preference for the introduction of a gross profits tax, a major firm suggested to the government that it would prefer a one per cent rate to GPT.