In 2021, Minister for Sport Thomas Byrne stated that various sporting organizations in Ireland had submitted proposals for a more just distribution of betting taxes. Nevertheless, discussions with the Ministry of Finance at that time had dismissed these proposals.
Minister for Sport Thomas Byrne was questioned in writing by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy about the distribution of betting tax revenue in Ireland, as well as Minister for Finance Michael McGrath about the Horse and Greyhound Fund and its funding.
The Football Association of Ireland has suggested that the area be reviewed. The government clarified that income from betting tax is not specifically allocated to support the Horse and Greyhound Fund, which has received €1.5bn in funding for sports organizations between 2001 and 2021.
Minister McGrath stated that the betting tax revenue goes directly to the Exchequer and is not distributed to any organization. The allocation of funds, including those for the Horse and Greyhound Fund, is determined through the annual estimates process and is the responsibility of the Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Brendan Gleeson, the secretary general of the Department for Agriculture, echoed McGrath’s statement, stating that the Horse and Greyhound Fund’s allocated sum is partially covered by the betting tax, although it is not strictly hypothecated.
Byrne noted that the FAI was not the only organization that proposed a fairer distribution of the betting tax levy. He mentioned that numerous sporting organizations have made such proposals in recent years to partially fund the drive to increase sports participation. In late 2021, Byrne’s department discussed these proposals with the Department of Finance, which advised that betting duties revenue goes into general Exchequer funds, rather than being ring-fenced for specific purposes.
Byrne further stated that funding for sports has significantly increased during this government’s term and that they are on track to double the overall level of funding from €111m to €220m by 2027.
According to McGrath, the betting tax generated €98.9m in revenue in 2022, and 2023 revenue is expected to be similar. Remote operators were included in the tax in 2015.