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Paddy Power chief warns on proposed 2% Irish betting tax

Patrick Kennedy, the chief executive of the online and land betting group Paddy Power, used this week’s agm to criticise the cash-strapped Irish government's plans to double betting tax to 2%, warning that such a move could create job losses and the possible flight of operations to greener pastures.

Kennedy claimed that the tax, which is used to fund prize money for horse and greyhound racing, would create major problems for bookies, and pointed out that the previous government had already extended the 1% land betting tax to online operations.

"Almost 90% of the bets we take online and on the telephone have nothing to do with Irish racing," Kennedy asserted. "It's akin to levying Google to fund the Dublin Airport Authority because they use Dublin Airport on a frequent basis."

Government appears to be seeking to use betting taxes on internet gambling to avert disaster in the racing industry, which claims that the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund has been reduced to €57 million this year from €76 million in 2008.

Kennedy was also critical of how effective enforcement could be, saying: "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."

He said that Paddy Power operated in a highly competitive field, but that the company was prepared to pay tax, but only if it is levied in a fair and equitable manner on "a level playing field."

Source: InfoPowa News

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