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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Increasing betting tax will boost sports groups, says minister

Garry Doyle and Niall O'Connor

Published 28/01/2014 | 02:30

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Sports Minister Leo Varadkar, holding the Sam Maguire cup, with GAA president Liam O’Neill holding the Liam McCarthy trophy and John Delaney chief executive of the FAI, with the Airtricity League Trophy, at the official opening of the multi-sport pitches for GAA, hockey, rugby and soccer at the National Sport Campus in Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

SOCCER and rugby sports bodies should benefit from any increase in the betting tax, Leo Varadkar has said.

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The Minister for Sport has said he is in favour of extending the distribution of proceeds generated by the tax, which is currently being extended to online betting.

One per cent of the tax intake, worth €27m in 2012, is channelled to the Horse and Greyhound fund.

However, organisations such as the FAI have lobbied for the proceeds to be extended to other sports.

According to Mr Varadkar, other sports should be in line to benefit if the betting tax is increased.

He was speaking at the opening of a new multi-pitch facility at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown.

The pitches will be used by national, county and club teams, as well being opened to community and sports groups, schools and members of the public.

LEVELS

The new multi-sport facilities includes eight six-a-side pitches for Gaelic games and a sport pavilion with a range of changing rooms.

"This is a tremendous addition to the sports facilities at the campus.

"We want clubs and teams from across Ireland to use these top-class pitches and pavilion.

"These multi-sport facilities cater for Gaelic games, hockey, rugby and soccer, for players at all levels," Mr Varadkar said.

He also confirmed at the event that work would begin this year on the country's first national indoor arena.

It is hoped that the facility will boost Ireland's chances of hosting major sporting indoor events.

Some €13m was earmarked for the project in October's Budget.

"This is really the next step, the next milestone in the development of the national sport complex," Mr Varadkar said.

Irish Independent

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