Bookmaker says tax hike forces him to shut shops
“I’m not optimistic,” he said, adding that many of Tully’s and other independents’ shops are in small towns and villages where they provide employment.
He said that even the larger betting groups – including Paddy Power Betfair, Ladbrokes and Boylesports – are likely to have to reassess the viability of some outlets when the higher tax comes into effect.
Ladbrokes also plans to exit on-course bookies at race courses across Ireland, having blamed its decision on the tax increase.
Mr Tully said that examinership would also be an option for his firm, where it might be able to continue trading with four or five outlets.
Thomas Byrne, the managing director of Bruce Betting, said that he will also have to decide whether about four of the firm’s 18 outlets will be able to continue trading after the tax hike comes into effect.
He said that the company paid more than five times in tax last year than it made in profits.
“It just doesn’t compute that you put an entire industry on the brink at the stroke of a pen,” said Mr Byrne, who added that to compensate for the tax increase he will have to generate a 15pc growth next year and make a 12pc gross margin.
“In the next 12 months, I can see hundreds of shops closing,” he said.
Mr Byrne said that his shops are better able to withstand the tax increase compared to other independents.
Bruce Betting supplies odds to many other independent bookmakers and also has an online presence.
The Government expects the tax increase to raise €39.5m for the Exchequer in 2019, and €51.6m in a full year. The duty was cut to 1pc from 2pc in 2006 by then Finance Minister Brian Cowen.