Not long after KPMG told the Irish Bookmakers Association to stop misrepresenting a report it prepared on the allegedly dodgy finances of Horse Racing Ireland, the horsey set has struck back with its own sets of figures. For this they hired Colm McCarthy, a University of College Dublin economist, to examine the tax regime options vis a vis bookmakers and horse racing.
Perhaps not surprisingly, McCarthy’s verdict echoes the views of the folks who commissioned the report. McCarthy thinks that Irish off-course bookies get off lightly when compared to tax schemes in other jurisdictions. As a result, he says the Irish bookie tax should be doubled to 2% and should also be extended to bets placed by Irish punters with international online gambling firms. We eagerly await a new report from McDonald’s that reveals how regular ingestion of their French fries leads to bilingualism, and one from British Petroleum which declares that oil spills make shrimp ‘deep-fryer-ready’.
Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, the UK Horsemen’s Group has penned a letter to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt, the government man tasked with arbitrating a new figure for the annual horseracing Levy. While everybody likes the personal touch, the simple stationery/envelope/stamp combo reinforces the notion that the collection of horse owners/trainers/breeders/jockeys/etc. doesn’t have a penny to spare on such fancy things as economic studies.
Instead of fashioning its own complex economic argument with pie charts and tables and such, the Horsemen’s letter relies on publicly available financials that demonstrate that (unlike horse racing) bookmakers actually make money. The logic follows that these affluent assholes should be made to pay what the Horsemen demand.
Best though, is the argument that by forcing the bookies to ante up more than they’d like, the Horsemen are actually protecting the bookies from the long-term damage they’d suffer if horse racing went the way of the dodo. In other words, the Horsemen are actually your mother, telling you that you’re going to sit at this table until you finish eating your fibrous veggies, otherwise you’re going to die a long slow painful death of bowel cancer. You’re welcome.