Plenty of green in the Irish online gambling market

Plenty of green in the Irish online gambling market

Irish gambler eyes are smiling on Internet and telephone betting in the Emerald Isle, it appears from the latest survey published this week indicating that the sector is worth almost Euro 800 million annually.

Online and telephone, non-retail, bets placed by Irish punters are not subject to the 1 percent tax imposed on wagers placed in bookies' shops and are the focus of a dispute between the betting and horse racing industries, reports the Irish Times.

A study by the professional business services group, Pricew­ate­rho­use­Coopers (PWC), values online and telephone betting in Ireland at Euro 797 million annually.

The survey is backed by the country's main bookmakers and is based on high-street majors such as Boyle Sports, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power, and online specialists, Bet365 and Party Gaming, all of whom provided data for the survey.

Not included are figures from betting exchanges like Betfair, but it is estimated that turnover in these businesses is worth an additional Euro 114 million.

Referring to horse racing industry proposals to extend taxation and/or levies to online activities, Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy said the figures demonstrate that Horse Racing Ireland's (HRI) estimate of the value of non-retail betting is seriously overestimated.

"The reality is that taxing telephone and internet will go nowhere near to providing the ‘self financing' solution that HRI has been advocating," he said, adding that a 1 percent betting levy on all sports would yield just Euro 6.7 million.

HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh said he had not seen the report, but that he welcomed its publication as a further contribution to the debate. "It shows that online and telephone betting, excluding the exchanges and other elements, is approaching Euro 1 billion," he added.

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