Long odds for bookies

DUNDALK based bookmakers Bar One Racing say that the industry faces a bleak year ahead if the tax rate is not changed at by the Government.

DUNDALK based bookmakers Bar One Racing say that the industry faces a bleak year ahead if the tax rate is not changed at by the Government.

Barney O’Hare of Bar One Racing, who are based on the Ramparts in Dundalk, told the paper: “The current tax situation is an absolute mess.”

His comments come following CEO of Ladbrokes Ireland, Joe Lewins, suggestion that 600 jobs across the industry are at risk.

“Like any other industry in Ireland, bookies have taken a big hit in the last few years. In the boom time there was a huge over expansion of bookies, as the money was there, but the amount of outlets open at the moment is simple not viable.”

Mr O’Hare also says that the 1 per cent tax on turnover is “killing” the industry, and that betting shops are fighting a losing battle against online betting, who have a zero per cent tax.

“In the UK there is a 1 per cent tax on gross profit, and not on turnover. As a result the margins in Ireland for betting shops are being completely cut.”

Online betting operations are based abroad and at not subject to the same tax.

“It’s not a level playing field, as a result you are going to see betting shops closing across the board.”

Mr O’Hare maintains that Dundalk remains a strong betting town, but says other areas have been harder hit.

“Our goal at Bar One Racing is maintain all our jobs and not to lose staff. We have sat our staff down and told them the situation. We have for example made cuts and we no longer have staff working overtime.

“Unfortunately we are way down the list in the governments priorities, and I’d expect jobs losses and shops closing as a result this year.”