The Government is supporting a doubling of the current 1% betting tax to fund current state subsidies to the racing industry, The Sunday Business Post reports.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who is responsible for the industry, said in the current climate it would be difficult to justify the payments to the horse and greyhound sectors. Instead, they should be self-funded through the increase in betting tax as proposed in the McCarthy report.

Legislation is expected in the coming weeks to extend the 1% betting tax to all online betting outlets.

“Once we deal with the issue of extending the tax to online betting, we should consider the rate,” he said. “I consider the 1% rate to be low and I think it could be increased to help the exchequer and the industry. But I am also aware of the concerns of bookmakers.”

The betting tax has been reduced from 10% 15 years ago to its current rate of just 1%. Total tax rate fell from €60m in 1990 to €31m in 2010.

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