Proposed Irish Tax on Gambling May Be Problematic, Says Paddy Power Chief

Kennedy warns of downsides of such move

This week, Paddy Power CEO Patrick Kennedy expressed criticism of the Irish government's plans to double the current betting tax to 2 percent in order to avert disaster in the racing industry, underlining that such a move could create job cuts and movement of operations out of the country.

According to him, such tax would be rather problematic for bookies, since the previous government had already extended the 1 percent land betting tax to online operations. He specified: "Almost 90 percent of the bets we take online and on the telephone have nothing to do with Irish racing. It's akin to levying Google to fund the Dublin Airport Authority because they use Dublin Airport on a frequent basis."

Kennedy also criticized the estimated effectiveness of the measure: "Eight of the top 10 internet operators marketing their services in Ireland are not based in Ireland. They're in Malta, Gibraltar, Vanuatu and Jersey, and our issue is that overseas operators simply won't pay." According to him, Paddy Power operates in a highly competitive field, but it's ready to pay tax if it is levied in a fair and equitable manner on "a level playing field."

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