Horse Racing Online Wagering Hits Stride During Ireland's Cheltenham Festival

Published Sunday, March 11, 2012 -

Irish punters love to bet on everything but the passion is obvious when it comes to the horses. The Cheltenham Festival is the most talked about and watched and wagered on horse racing series in the country. Millions of euro will be gambled on the 27 races in the next short while giving bookmakers a run for their money. The slightest hint of one horse being better in some way than another sends the punter to the books to place their bets. The combination of seasoned horse racing fans and those who have never placed a bet on a pony comes together during the four day festival.

Horse racing has been going through some troubled times of late with less money trickling down to the industry’s rising expenses. The Irish government has been stalling on revamping the tax regime with dire consequences. Of the millions that are put in and taken out of the sport of kings the Irish Exchequer is missing the boat and getting little return from the punts.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is reportedly ready to take the leap and make big changes to the tax regime and reap the benefits that the Cheltenham Festival has to offer.
The tax of one per cent of turnover applies to betting shops only at this time with online, telephone and mobile operators not required to pay this levy. The tax is not allowed to be passed o to the consumer by the books. This is reportedly about to change with the Agriculture Minister Coveney is planning to introduce legislation that will impose the same one percent tax on all betting venues including online and phone bets and that even offshore operators will have to apply for a license to offer services to Irish punters.

The turnover in betting shops in Ireland has fallen significantly over the last several years giving rise to questions whether any turnover tax will prove positive for the government or consumers.

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