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Irish Govt Cuts Racing Funds & Raises Betting Duty
In Ireland, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's Budget speech announced cuts to the Horse & Greyhound Fund of €6.6 million (A$11.22m): from €76.3 million (A$129.7m) in 2008 to €69.7 million (A$118.4m) in 2009. In addition Lenihan announced betting tax will double, from 1% to 2%, which will "yield €40 million (A$68m) in a full year." In response Horse Racing Ireland chief executive officer Brian Kavanagh told racingpost.co.uk the "shock budget announcements will result in tough times ahead for every facet of the Irish racing industry" & declared the "cut in HRI revenue could have a negative effect on capital development, overall prize-money & expanding the Irish racing industry overall". And Irish Bookmakers' Association chair Sharon Byrne said the massive increase in off-course betting tax "could ultimately destroy parts of the betting industry". Byrne described the increase as "devastating" & emphasised: "This is the end of the independent bookmaker business as we know it for those who operate as sole traders in Ireland. Looking at the figures, it's impossible for them to make money no matter what they do & would put them into a loss making situation without a shadow of a doubt."