25th of May 2010 Author: Ava Jackuard
Extend betting hours instead of introducing new tax, suggests Irish chief
The announcement by Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen last week that he planned to tax online gambling firms accessing the Irish market has attracted more critical comment, this time from the respected Ladbrokes Ireland m.d., Joe Lewins.
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune over the weekend, Lewins opined that a government initiative designed to get all gaming firms taking bets from Irish customers into the tax net in a bid to end state subsidies for horse racing would not achieve its goals, especially in regard to the online gambling sector being targeted by government.
Lewins said deterrents to stop companies offering online gaming, such as blocking IP addresses, failed to work in other countries, and raising the betting levy wouldn't produce a "golden egg" to support horseracing.
"There is a very simple solution,' suggested Lewins. 'I can't understand why we can't have extended betting hours. Come September you are driving everything online because you are screwing the betting shops by closing early."
Lewin's criticism joins those of other top Irish gambling personalities, including Paddy Power CEO Patrick Kennedy, who last week said increasing the betting levy would only hit his company and Boylesports, as most other internet betting firms were located offshore.
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