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Ireland Looking to Online Sportsbooks to Fund Local Racing Industry

7 April, 2009,  Rita Malhotra, Staff writer


It's a familiar theme the world over.  Local terrestrial wagering operations crying poor in the face of competition from online betting options.  Just this week the Toronto Sun Newspaper reported that Canada's Woodpine Entertainment Group was bemoaning the impact that internet sportsbooks were having on their wagering income from local racing operations. 

The latest casualty is Ireland's Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund.

Now Ireland Prime Minister Martin Cullen has threatened to ban online sports betting unless internet operators are prepared to make a financial contribution to the Exchequor to help fund the ailing Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund.

At present the Fund is subsidized by the Government to the tune of around Euro 1.5 million per year, although it is expected this amount will be reduced with the impact of general economic conditions in Ireland at present.  And Cullen expects online betting operator to step up to the plate.

A levy of just 0.5% on internet gambling revenues would yield around Euro 100 million claims Cullen, who conceded that most punters now by choice bet online rather than with local operators.

"The reality is that most betting is now offshore. There are choices to be made, and I am making it clear to the industry that we will make those choices. "The ultimate choice would be to ban it. That approach has been taken in America and perhaps it will be taken in other countries as well. However, I do not want to go down that road. I believe there is a means of taking action."

The gambling world continues to be forever changed by the online betting juggernaut.




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