Book­maker says tax hike forces him to shut shops

Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE -

“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.

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