Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Today's the day. Word is the polls are packed here in Ohio.

My Irish buddy, DB, sent me this per my fine friends in Ireland:

From the Irish Examiner:


€14 million: What we gambled every day last year

WE gambled more than €5 billion last year, or €14 million every day of the year.

As Paddy Power yesterday reported pre-tax profits of €75m, thanks in part to the €930m spent by customers at the chain’s Irish retail shops, it has emerged our love affair with gambling has reached increasingly worrying levels.

Provisional Revenue figures show that off-course betting exceeded €3.5bn during 2007, with 1% of that figure netted by the taxman. That represents an increase of almost €300m on the 2006 amount and does not include on-course betting, online gambling or the National Lottery.

It is estimated the online sector represents about 10% of the Irish betting market, at over €500m, but is rising each year. In Britain, internet gambling makes about 20% of the total market.

An overall conservative figure for gambling in Ireland, excluding casinos, which operate as private clubs, is more than €5.2bn.

The increase was described as “worrying” yesterday by Gamblers Anonymous. A spokesman said the amount of meetings, and the amount of people attending GA meetings, has been steadily increasing in recent years.

“The internet is the big thing at the moment,” he said.

“It’s worrying from the point of view of families, from the point of view of spouses and children.”

Recent results published by Horse Racing Ireland indicate that racecourse betting was up by 7.6% last year, to €282m, while tote betting stood at just over €61m for 2007 — a jump of €11.7m on 2006. Tote income is exclusively from horse racing betting, and mostly Irish horse racing.

Meanwhile, National Lottery results due to be published later this week are likely to show sales figures easily topping the €700m mark.

In 2006, sales of €679m were recorded and a continuation of the near-10% growth of recent years would see an Irish spend of up to €747m on the Lotto, scratch cards and Euromillions last year.

Online gambling continues to flourish, with betting exchange Betfair having a turnover of €15m in the year to April 2007, a figure expected to rise significantly. Betfair expects to double its Irish business between April of 2005 and 2008.

According to Betfair Ireland’s Eoin Ryan this country is the exchange’s “third biggest worldwide market for sports betting”, with about 45,000 registered Irish customers.

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