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View Full Version : End The Horse and Greyhound Fund - It's Not a Sports Fund - It's a Subsidy to Book Makers and Owners



C. Flower
19-08-2012, 10:40 AM
Post Olympics, people are taking a pop at the Horse and Greyhound fund.
In the last ten years hundreds of millions have poured into racing, on the basis that it is "sports funding" even though it involves virtually no non-professional physical recreation.


In 2011 €57 million was made available from the exchequer to the horse and greyhound fund established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001 to support these industries. This Act determines that 100 per cent of the receipts from levies placed on bets in Ireland goes to this fund, regardless of what the bet is placed on. About 80 per cent of the fund benefits Horse Racing Ireland, which oversees a prize money fund 60 per cent higher than that of the UK.
Compare that with the funding of the Irish Sports Council, which last year amounted to €25.6 million for 57 national governing bodies, 32 local sports partnerships and 18 high-performance sports.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0730/1224321085804.html

This paper by Tony Fahey and Liam Delaney, for the ESRI (2006) made the points that there was little or no sports justification for the fund, and that whereas in other countries gambling/betting was tightly controlled, state owned and a big earner for the State, in Ireland it is not, and in any event internet gambling is making it very difficult to tax at all.

http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/20061103102203/BKMNINT192_Fahey.pdf

The main beneficiaries of the fund are very wealthy people. Many people disapprove of greyhound racing, and gambling is an addictive social curse that wrecks many lives. Why should this fund exist at all?

Slim Buddha
19-08-2012, 12:11 PM
Post Olympics, people are taking a pop at the Horse and Greyhound fund.
In the last ten years hundreds of millions have poured into racing, on the basis that it is "sports funding" even though it involves virtually no non-professional physical recreation.



http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0730/1224321085804.html

This paper by Tony Fahey and Liam Delaney, for the ESRI (2006) made the points that there was little or no sports justification for the fund, and that whereas in other countries gambling/betting was tightly controlled, state owned and a big earner for the State, in Ireland it is not, and in any event internet gambling is making it very difficult to tax at all.

http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/20061103102203/BKMNINT192_Fahey.pdf

The main beneficiaries of the fund are very wealthy people. Many people disapprove of greyhound racing, and gambling is an addictive social curse that wrecks many lives. Why should this fund exist at all?

It shouldn't, of course, but vested interests (and you know who they are) are heavily entrenched here and politicians behave like barking seals at their commands. Expect no change.

Shaadi
19-08-2012, 01:07 PM
We're an unbelievably successful country in the horse breeding and racing Industry and it is an industry. Whatever is paid out from the fund returns ten fold as the industry is worth 1/2 a billion euro a year to the Irish Economy.

We've few enough successful indigenous industries, tearing down this one would be a huge mistake. The fund goes to boost prize money in Irish racing, which makes Irish racing more attractive to a higher quality of horse and makes ownership easier. Which in turn means a better product for the paying customer and higher levels of ownership.

Our country has many large studs bringing in mares from foreign owners to be boarded and have their foals here. There are huge expenses involved, from stallion fees that rise to 100s of thousands of Euro per mare covered to vets fees, staff to care for the horses, feed to be purchased etc.

The trickle down is substantial, many of the foreign owners choose to have their horse trained and raced here as the prize money is better than in England. Every single owner of top class racehorses in the world knows of our prowess in the the horse industry. Many of them come here to buy their yearlings, visit their mares and enjoy our hospitality. That's the kind of positive international exposure that's hard to come by.

We've had the best stallions in the world standing here for the last few decades, that was down to the tax break which has now ended. Before that tax break was introduced we were a second rank horseracing country with the English taking our top races at their ease. We can go back to being second rate very easily, cut the prize money and owners will remove their horses to richer climes.

Baron von Biffo
19-08-2012, 01:20 PM
We're an unbelievably successful country in the horse breeding and racing Industry and it is an industry. Whatever is paid out from the fund returns ten fold as the industry is worth 1/2 a billion euro a year to the Irish Economy.

We've few enough successful indigenous industries, tearing down this one would be a huge mistake. The fund goes to boost prize money in Irish racing, which makes Irish racing more attractive to a higher quality of horse and makes ownership easier. Which in turn means a better product for the paying customer and higher levels of ownership.

Our country has many large studs bringing in mares from foreign owners to be boarded and have their foals here. There are huge expenses involved, from stallion fees that rise to 100s of thousands of Euro per mare covered to vets fees, staff to care for the horses, feed to be purchased etc.

The trickle down is substantial, many of the foreign owners choose to have their horse trained and raced here as the prize money is better than in England. Every single owner of top class racehorses in the world knows of our prowess in the the horse industry. Many of them come here to buy their yearlings, visit their mares and enjoy our hospitality. That's the kind of positive international exposure that's hard to come by.

We've had the best stallions in the world standing here for the last few decades, that was down to the tax break which has now ended. Before that tax break was introduced we were a second rank horseracing country with the English taking our top races at their ease. We can go back to being second rate very easily, cut the prize money and owners will remove their horses to richer climes.

Good assessment.

Outside the thoroughbred sector there's still a huge amount of money in equestrianism - show jumping, riding schools, equestrian centres, saddlers, farriers, horse boxes and many others provide employment across the country.

Slim Buddha
19-08-2012, 01:55 PM
We're an unbelievably successful country in the horse breeding and racing Industry and it is an industry. Whatever is paid out from the fund returns ten fold as the industry is worth 1/2 a billion euro a year to the Irish Economy.

We've few enough successful indigenous industries, tearing down this one would be a huge mistake. The fund goes to boost prize money in Irish racing, which makes Irish racing more attractive to a higher quality of horse and makes ownership easier. Which in turn means a better product for the paying customer and higher levels of ownership.

Our country has many large studs bringing in mares from foreign owners to be boarded and have their foals here. There are huge expenses involved, from stallion fees that rise to 100s of thousands of Euro per mare covered to vets fees, staff to care for the horses, feed to be purchased etc.

The trickle down is substantial, many of the foreign owners choose to have their horse trained and raced here as the prize money is better than in England. Every single owner of top class racehorses in the world knows of our prowess in the the horse industry. Many of them come here to buy their yearlings, visit their mares and enjoy our hospitality. That's the kind of positive international exposure that's hard to come by.

We've had the best stallions in the world standing here for the last few decades, that was down to the tax break which has now ended. Before that tax break was introduced we were a second rank horseracing country with the English taking our top races at their ease. We can go back to being second rate very easily, cut the prize money and owners will remove their horses to richer climes.

If it is that successful, why does it need a crutch from the state to lean on?

Sam Lord
19-08-2012, 02:54 PM
If it is that successful, why does it need a crutch from the state to lean on?

Good question. Why should a half a billion euro a year industry not be able to provide it's own prizemoney.

From Shaadi's post it appears that the fund essentially serves to subsidise racehorse ownership, a hobby of the super rich. Why the Irish taxpayer should be doing this is beyond me.

C. Flower
19-08-2012, 02:55 PM
We're an unbelievably successful country in the horse breeding and racing Industry and it is an industry. Whatever is paid out from the fund returns ten fold as the industry is worth 1/2 a billion euro a year to the Irish Economy.

We've few enough successful indigenous industries, tearing down this one would be a huge mistake. The fund goes to boost prize money in Irish racing, which makes Irish racing more attractive to a higher quality of horse and makes ownership easier. Which in turn means a better product for the paying customer and higher levels of ownership.

Our country has many large studs bringing in mares from foreign owners to be boarded and have their foals here. There are huge expenses involved, from stallion fees that rise to 100s of thousands of Euro per mare covered to vets fees, staff to care for the horses, feed to be purchased etc.

The trickle down is substantial, many of the foreign owners choose to have their horse trained and raced here as the prize money is better than in England. Every single owner of top class racehorses in the world knows of our prowess in the the horse industry. Many of them come here to buy their yearlings, visit their mares and enjoy our hospitality. That's the kind of positive international exposure that's hard to come by.

We've had the best stallions in the world standing here for the last few decades, that was down to the tax break which has now ended. Before that tax break was introduced we were a second rank horseracing country with the English taking our top races at their ease. We can go back to being second rate very easily, cut the prize money and owners will remove their horses to richer climes.

How much does the Exchequer put in, and how much does it receive in tax ?

Shaadi
19-08-2012, 03:10 PM
If it is that successful, why does it need a crutch from the state to lean on?It's a byproduct of the bookmaker system of betting that the Irish and British Govts tolerate. Prize money is mainly funded by a levy on the betting industry. Countries which have a tote monopoly like France and Hong Kong have all their betting revenues channeled into a central pot where they take a cut which they use to sponsor the prize funds for the racing that they are dependent on, a circle of self-interest. They tend to have much better levels of prize money than countries which allow the bookmaker system to operate.

For cultural and political reasons we and the British allow the bookmaker system to operate. We both levy the bookmakers, there the similarity ends because the British with their large urban population begrudge passing it on to subsidise horse racing as they see it as a hobby. We on the other hand see it as an industry and the amount we put back in pays handsome dividends in financial terms and in terms of National prestige. There's a scale advantage for us in comparison to Britain, we have nowhere near the same amount of racing as they do, but Irish racing benefits from the levy on the british racing that Irish punters bet on in the bookies.

Slim Buddha
19-08-2012, 03:30 PM
It's a byproduct of the bookmaker system of betting that the Irish and British Govts tolerate. Prize money is mainly funded by a levy on the betting industry. Countries which have a tote monopoly like France and Hong Kong have all their betting revenues channeled into a central pot where they take a cut which they use to sponsor the prize funds for the racing that they are dependent on, a circle of self-interest. They tend to have much better levels of prize money than countries which allow the bookmaker system to operate.

For cultural and political reasons we and the British allow the bookmaker system to operate. We both levy the bookmakers, there the similarity ends because the British with their large urban population begrudge passing it on to subsidise horse racing as they see it as a hobby. We on the other hand see it as an industry and the amount we put back in pays handsome dividends in financial terms and in terms of National prestige. There's a scale advantage for us in comparison to Britain, we have nowhere near the same amount of racing as they do, but Irish racing benefits from the levy on the british racing that Irish punters bet on in the bookies.

Interesting but it still doesn't explain why such a successful industry needs government support. Maybe if we had an answer to C. Flower's question above, there might be more clarity on this. It seems to me that the main beneficiaries are people who really do not need government money.

Shaadi
19-08-2012, 04:01 PM
Interesting but it still doesn't explain why such a successful industry needs government support. Maybe if we had an answer to C. Flower's question above, there might be more clarity on this. It seems to me that the main beneficiaries are people who really do not need government money.I think there's a direct Govt subvention from the exchequer of €29 million a year to racing which the Govt are trying to get rid of by taking more from the bookmakers levy. Prize money has fallen by 26% in the last few years, it seems to be a bit of a tightrope act between cutting more and not doing serious damage. That was from an Irish Examiner article on the 1st August 2012, I can't post links I'm on a mobile.

There's a recent Irish Times article stating that the Industry is worth €500 million a year, that seems a reasonably accurate figure to me. For example it costs €20,000 a year to keep a horse in training. It's a labour intensive industry, there's definitely more coming back to the exchequer than going out.

There are 3.000 people employed in the business in Kildare alone. There's also a figure of 50% of product going to export and the value of the industry being €1bn a year. That's from the goracing.ie website, submission to the joint committee 2011.

Slim Buddha
19-08-2012, 04:10 PM
I think there's a direct Govt subvention from the exchequer of €29 million a year to racing which the Govt are trying to get rid of by taking more from bookmakers levy. Prize money has fallen by 26% in the last few years, it seems to be a bit of a tightrope act between cutting more and not doing serious damage. That was from an Irish Examiner article on the 1st August 2012, I can't post links I'm on a mobile.

There's a recent Irish Times article stating that the Industry is worth €500 million a year, that seems a reasonably accurate figure to me. For example it costs €20,000 a year to keep a horse in training. It's a labour intensive industry, there's definitely more coming back to the exchequer than going out.

I hope you are right. I am always suspicious of an industry where government money is going in but the main beneficiaries are well-heeled insiders. As you say it is labour intensive but weak and spineless governments (are there any other sort in Ireland?) are likely to succumb to threats to move and the labour intensive argument will be wheeled out by the largesse recipients to ensure the status quo is maintained.

Call me a cynic but this sort of thing passes for government in Ireland.

Baron von Biffo
19-08-2012, 05:23 PM
We subsidise IT, pharmaceuticals, films, tourism and other industries as well. The principle being that we spend on the subsidy to gain benefits in employment and tax.

Surely we haven't descended to the sort of childish begrudgery that would rather lose any benefit we get than see someone we don't approve of getting something out of the arrangement?

Slim Buddha
19-08-2012, 06:54 PM
We subsidise IT, pharmaceuticals, films, tourism and other industries as well. The principle being that we spend on the subsidy to gain benefits in employment and tax.

Surely we haven't descended to the sort of childish begrudgery that would rather lose any benefit we get than see someone we don't approve of getting something out of the arrangement?

We subsidise pharma and IT to attract inward investment. The same cannot be said for the bloodstock industry. The beneficiaries are extremely well-heeled home grown sorts. There is a difference.

Childish begrudgery has nothing to do with it.

Dr. FIVE
19-08-2012, 07:18 PM
Our horsey and phama owners avoid about the same tax I suppose

Shaadi
19-08-2012, 11:36 PM
We subsidise pharma and IT to attract inward investment. The same cannot be said for the bloodstock industry. The beneficiaries are extremely well-heeled home grown sorts. There is a difference.

Childish begrudgery has nothing to do with it.The thing about the thoroughbred breeding business is that it's a huge web of interconnected people from all walks of life and from all over the world. From stable lads to billionaire owners they're all part of the business.

Take one mare called Urban Sea, she was by an american stallion, owned by a Hong Kong business man and trained in France where she won a championship race that made her a valuable broodmare.

So they sent her to Ireland, because we had the best sires in the world standing here. The reason we had those sires here was because of the tax breaks for stallions here. The tax breaks meant that with foreign investment we could establish some of the worlds top studs here.

So Urban Sea started her broodmare career and went on to produce two Epsom Derby winners who were bred and trained in Ireland. Galileo one of those derby winners is now the best stallion in the world and stands here bringing in the best mares from all over the world. The other one Sea The Stars has been retired to stand here by his Hong Kong owner at the Aga Khans Gilltown stud, where he will bring in hundreds of the best mares from around the world.

Without the foreign owners and the tax breaks we would never have gotten the industry to where it is now and Urban Sea's owner would have sent his mare elsewhere. Success breeds success, but you can't stand still. Galileo has produced a once in a lifetime champion called Frankel, who is owned by Englands most successful stallion farm.



We've got to try and keep the best horses in Ireland, the €29 millon or so that helps keep the prize money higher here than in England is money well spent because it means there's an incentive for foreign owners to race here and keep their best horses here.

That's all without the benefits that the likes of the Galway races and all the other racing festivals bring to the economy. It's a win win scenario.

Slim Buddha
20-08-2012, 06:24 AM
The thing about the thoroughbred breeding business is that it's a huge web of interconnected people from all walks of life and from all over the world. From stable lads to billionaire owners they're all part of the business.

Take one mare called Urban Sea, she was by an american stallion, owned by a Hong Kong business man and trained in France where she won a championship race that made her a valuable broodmare.

So they sent her to Ireland, because we had the best sires in the world standing here. The reason we had those sires here was because of the tax breaks for stallions here. The tax breaks meant that with foreign investment we could establish some of the worlds top studs here.

So Urban Sea started her broodmare career and went on to produce two Epsom Derby winners who were bred and trained in Ireland. Galileo one of those derby winners is now the best stallion in the world and stands here bringing in the best mares from all over the world. The other one Sea The Stars has been retired to stand here by his Hong Kong owner at the Aga Khans Gilltown stud, where he will bring in hundreds of the best mares from around the world.

Without the foreign owners and the tax breaks we would never have gotten the industry to where it is now and Urban Sea's owner would have sent his mare elsewhere. Success breeds success, but you can't stand still. Galileo has produced a once in a lifetime champion called Frankel, who is owned by Englands most successful stallion farm.



We've got to try and keep the best horses in Ireland, the €29 millon or so that helps keep the prize money higher here than in England is money well spent because it means there's an incentive for foreign owners to race here and keep their best horses here.

That's all without the benefits that the likes of the Galway races and all the other racing festivals bring to the economy. It's a win win scenario.

I suppose I have always been highly suspicious of this industry and some of the well-known well-heeled figures that inhabit it. Large tax breaks for billionaire traders in equine sperm does not sit easy with me but the employment it gives is undeniable. I guess there are good reasons for keeping it but I would like to see a lot more transparency in the business as a whole. For some reason, I believe the leading domestic figures in the business are the sort of people who would detest transparency.

Stanley 2
20-08-2012, 11:46 AM
I suppose I have always been highly suspicious of this industry and some of the well-known well-heeled figures that inhabit it. Large tax breaks for billionaire traders in equine sperm does not sit easy with me but the employment it gives is undeniable. I guess there are good reasons for keeping it but I would like to see a lot more transparency in the business as a whole. For some reason, I believe the leading domestic figures in the business are the sort of people who would detest transparency.




Some of the top profilers in the bloodstock game are non-resident for tax purposes and spread the high-risk profits of their endeavours into other "safer" businesses, such as MUFC, 5 star hotels, pubs in UK, top-end London property, nursing homes holding company and have brought in several top-end currency traders to share their risks.

Together they are able to take on some of the oil wealth of the World and succeed, their horsey ability has translated well to other "games".

The strategy of tax effiency and risk-sharing has promoted these investors to near billionaire status and any borrowings are 100% asset backed, they could probably move this model to a handful of countries but they have long courted various Govts in Irl and are very much a herd of elephants in the sitting-room.

Slim Buddha
20-08-2012, 03:06 PM
Some of the top profilers in the bloodstock game are non-resident for tax purposes and spread the high-risk profits of their endeavours into other "safer" businesses, such as MUFC, 5 star hotels, pubs in UK, top-end London property, nursing homes holding company and have brought in several top-end currency traders to share their risks.

Together they are able to take on some of the oil wealth of the World and succeed, their horsey ability has translated well to other "games".

The strategy of tax effiency and risk-sharing has promoted these investors to near billionaire status and any borrowings are 100% asset backed, they could probably move this model to a handful of countries but they have long courted various Govts in Irl and are very much a herd of elephants in the sitting-room.

Indeed they are, which makes their invisibility all the more startling until you consider our libel laws and the standards applied by our fourth estate.

Stanley 2
20-08-2012, 03:16 PM
Indeed they are, which makes their invisibility all the more startling until you consider our libel laws and the standards applied by our fourth estate.


Totally correct, each and everyone of them would have your ass in Court before you could say the name "Denis O'Brien", however they tend to be men of their word and only display their claws if this is brought into doubt.

fluffybiscuits
20-08-2012, 11:01 PM
We subsidise IT, pharmaceuticals, films, tourism and other industries as well. The principle being that we spend on the subsidy to gain benefits in employment and tax.

Surely we haven't descended to the sort of childish begrudgery that would rather lose any benefit we get than see someone we don't approve of getting something out of the arrangement?

The horse racing industry though is still the sole preserve though of the upper class. The industries you mention there such as IT, pharmaceuticals all provide per head value for money in terms of jobs that they produce but the tax breaks for the race industry only benefit the horse racing industry. Take into account that the horse racing industry also get four year tax breaks on stallions which they sell and considering these go for a fortune then there is mega bucks in this industry (source: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2012/06/06/00098.asp). There are also only 3,500 people employed in the industry as of 2008, with the mega bucks being poured in, that is a very small pool of people for a big resource of money (source:http://www.goracing.ie/AssetLibrary/Files/HRI/Resource_Centre/Dukes%20Report%20%202009%20.pdf)

Baron von Biffo
20-08-2012, 11:18 PM
The horse racing industry though is still the sole preserve though of the upper class. The industries you mention there such as IT, pharmaceuticals all provide per head value for money in terms of jobs that they produce but the tax breaks for the race industry only benefit the horse racing industry. Take into account that the horse racing industry also get four year tax breaks on stallions which they sell and considering these go for a fortune then there is mega bucks in this industry (source: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2012/06/06/00098.asp). There are also only 3,500 people employed in the industry as of 2008, with the mega bucks being poured in, that is a very small pool of people for a big resource of money (source:http://www.goracing.ie/AssetLibrary/Files/HRI/Resource_Centre/Dukes%20Report%20%202009%20.pdf)

Owning the top horses costs a lot but not every horse is at the highest level. Many 'ordinary' people are involved with shared ownership syndicates.

Racing isn't my game - I have a (very) modest interest in a couple of show jumpers - but it does provide a lot of jobs in direct staff and support industries.

Monetpenny
21-08-2012, 09:36 AM
Fluffy,
The figure of 3,500 is stable staff only.
That does not include stud farm staff, jockeys, feed companies (2 examples in the report are Red Mills 140 staff & Gain 101), vets, farriers, transport companies etc.
The total employed which is set out on page 29 is 22,084.
If objectors are going to concentrate on the money then lets focus on the fact that the vast majority of money invested in horse ownership is lost.
90% of race horses don't win enough prize money to cover their costs.
Everyone seems to be focused on the solitary Irish horse owner who is making money on stud fees, but his 2 partners are non-nationals.
The other significant race horse owners & stallion owners in Ireland are also non-nationals.
They have horses in many jurisdictions & we can decide either to entice them to spend some of their money here or let them go elsewhere.
Are objectors aware that these owners provide a significant proportion of the prize money.
In the same report owners contributed €17.2m of the total €60.4m prize fund.
Additionally, owners spent another €289.8m.
Of this, €196.7m is spent on training fees, €14.5m is spent on training/farrier fees, jockey fees are €5.3m & €14.4m is spent on prize money % to trainers & jockeys.
All of this is taxable income.
The thoroughbred industry is a significant employer in this state & the Exchequer is a net recipient from the industry.
If people want to shut it down, then that's fine.
But has anyone worked out how much job seekers allowance would cost annually for 22,084 unemployed people?

DCon
11-02-2013, 09:51 AM
Corruption, cheating, failed regulation. Not banks this time, but greyhound racing


In the critical case, which ultimately drew attention to the scam, a supposedly novice dog from Waterford (Mays Hurryonboy) came within 0.1 seconds of Dundalk’s course record on Jun 15, 2009.

He crossed the line 13 lengths clear of the opposition and 34 lengths ahead of his documented trial form.

The dog in question had been presented for the race by Newry-based solicitor Gary Haughey, the brother of the IGB’s officiating control steward in Dundalk that evening, Declan Haughey.

The report said all evidence indicated Mays Hurryonboy was not the dog that ran on the night.


http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/botched-probe-missed-racing-scam-that-used-falsified-records-222274.html

DCon
27-08-2013, 08:30 AM
Lucinda wants more tax breaks for the horsey brigade.

Cites horses selling for millions as a reason but fails to mention the millions will go to the horsey brigade and not the State


Ms Creighton said a tax exemption for those willing to ensure Irish riders remain competitive by investing in top sport horses, that fetch millions of euro on the circuit, was a "no-brainer".



http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/lucinda-tax-breaks-for-sport-horse-industry-a-nobrainer-29529661.html

DCon
02-11-2014, 12:00 PM
Losing money hand over fist



SERIOUS questions have been raised about whether the €21m Limerick Greyhound Stadium should ever have been built by Bord nd gCon.


The 45 page report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, which has been presented to the Dáil, states the stadium was given the go-ahead without the benefit of a capital project appraisal - to compare the costs of the project with the expected benefits.


http://m.limerickleader.ie/news/business/business-news/bord-na-gcon-s-limerick-bet-puts-it-in-serious-debt-1-6391243

C. Flower
03-11-2014, 10:59 AM
I've been asking questions about the Pompidou Centre style - and cost - stadia being built for Greyhound racing, for years.

The Cork one is to be sold off, yes ?

Wonder who will pick up the fire sale.

It will incurr a massive loss.