Paschal Donohoe has defended his controversial doubling of Irish betting tax in the 2019 Budget announced last month.
The finance minister stated that the increase, which is predicted to cause significant damage to small independent operators, is designed to address consumer protection issues.
Claiming that “the social cost of problem gambling” was a major factor in the decision, not mentioning the E50m projected to be added to government revenue annually, Donohoe urged operators to come to terms with the change, set to be enacted on 1 January 2019.
The statement came after Irish bookmakers expressed concern that sponsorship for Irish horse racing may have to be heavily reduced as a result of the tax increase.
Local firms have also urged punters to lobby the government to reverse the decision before it becomes law, a precedent established in 2008, after the 2009 Budget was amended to maintain tax at one percent.