Business Irish

Saturday 17 March 2018

Irish Bookmakers Association wants a closer a relationship with racing industry

Irish Bookmakers Association wants a closer a relationship with racing industry
Irish Bookmakers Association wants a closer a relationship with racing industry

Cormac Fitzgerald

The Irish Bookmakers Association has said that it wants a closer relationship with the racing industry, ahead of tomorrow's Oireachtas Committee meeting on the horse industry in Ireland.

The association, which represents the most of the betting shops in Ireland, will be joined with representatives from Horse Sport Ireland to meet the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine to discuss the future of the industry.    

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Sharon Byrne, of the Irish Bookmakers Association, said that it was important for the racing industry to work closely with Irish bookmakers in the future.

"I think the racing industry could work a little closer with the betting industry with regards to fixtures and scheduling," said Ms Byrne.

She also said that her organisation's main focus tomorrow will be on how the betting industry contributes to horse racing in the form of tax, media payments and sponsorship.

"We're going to focus on the taxation that's being paid and the contribution and how intrinsically linked betting and tax are," said Ms Byrne.

Damien McDonald, Chief Executive of Horse Sport Ireland - the body that deals with all equestrian sport except racing - says that his organisation's plan for the meeting is to outline the positive role that they have had on the Irish economy.    

"Our riders are doing exceptionally well on the world stage, our sport horses are highly valued, and we're top of the world in the production of event horses, we feel its a sector we can develop even further with more resources," said Mr McDonald.

Those involved with the meeting hope that it will have a positive effect in ensuring the future success of the general horse industry in Ireland as well as the Irish Sport Horse industry, which was worth over €700m to the Irish economy in 2012.

Chairman of the committee, Fine Gael TD, Andrew Doyle, said that the meeting will help to determine how government policy can help to optimise the sector. 

"Tomorrow’s meeting will be a valuable opportunity to engage with Horse Sport Ireland and bookmaker representatives on where the priorities for the horse industry lie," said Mr. Doyle.

  Next week, the Joint Committee will meet with the Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the Irish Horse Welfare Trust, the ISPCA and local authority representatives to examine more of the issues facing the horse industry.

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