Gambling

A colleague has pointed out this Economist piece on gambling to me. Check out the figures on average annual gambling losses per resident adult, and where Ireland comes in the list: am I the only one who thinks these numbers are enormous? Or that we should perhaps be worried about them — especially the very large online component?

(This also gives me an excuse to complain about the FAI’s League of Ireland streaming deal with an online gambling company.)

Cheltenham Success and Funding

The 2017 Cheltenham Festival ended last Friday and proved to be a remarkable four days for horse racing in this country. Irish trained horses won 19 of the 28 races, beating last year’s previous best of 15. For the second year running there were more Irish trained winners than English, which is all the more remarkable given that “15 Irish winners or more” could be backed at odds of 4/1 as late as Tuesday morning. Irish trained horses won 3 or the top 4 prizes, and Ireland also dominated the leading trainer and jockey tables.

Much of this success can probably be put down to state investment in the sport. From 2008 to 2017 Revised Estimates of Public Expenditure show that the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund was allocated just under €650 million through the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism and more recently the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Of this, Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) received just over €500 million.

While national hunt racing is just one part of the sport, the majority of this funding is used to subsidise prize money at the 26 race courses on the island of Ireland. HRI support equates to roughly two-thirds of the prize fund, with owners, sponsors, funding from Northern Ireland and the European Breeders Fund contributing the remainder. The HRI 2016 Factbook discusses the recent improvement in most indicators in the sport, with only the trend in on-course bookmaker numbers a current cause for concern. The reason for this is largely explained by technological innovations and the resulting rise in online gambling.

The funding of horse racing can be compared to all other sports. Sport Ireland (formerly the Irish Sports Council) is partly responsible for these (their website lists more than 60 sports) and received just over €550 million for the ten-year period from 2008 to 2017. This includes payments to the National Sports Campus from 2012. This equates to a 94 cent investment in Horse Racing Ireland (administering a single sport), for every €1 investment in Sport Ireland, which covers everything from angling to wresting.

While the 2017 Revised Estimates indicate the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund will surpass its pre-crash allocation this year, Sport Ireland will experience a drop in funding year-on-year. If the country wishes to replicate the remarkable performance of Irish national hunt racing in other sports, further investment in Sport Ireland should be priority.

Continued success in the Cotswold can be expected in the years ahead.

Conference notification

The Central Bank and the European Investment Bank will jointly host a conference on “Investment and Investment Finance: Funding Growth and Recovery in Europe” on the morning of April 10th in the Bank’s new premises, North Wall Quay.

The following speakers are confirmed, and a full programme will be available on the Bank’s website in the coming days:

  • Michael Noonan, T.D., Minister for Finance
  • Prof. Philip R.Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland
  • Andrew McDowell, Vice-President, European Investment Bank
  • Gabriel Fagan, Chief Economist, Central Bank of Ireland
  • Debora Revoltella, Chief Economist, European Investment Bank
  • Danny McCoy, CEO, IBEC

Further information is available here.

Call for papers: 5th Annual NERI Labour Market Conference

Maynooth University
Friday, 12 May 2017

The fifth annual NERI Labour Market Conference will be held on Friday 12th May in association with Maynooth University’s Department of Applied Social Studies, the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting and the Department of Sociology. The conference will run from 10:00am-16.00pm and will include research papers on various aspects of the Irish labour market and Irish labour market policy.

The NERI Labour Market Conference is intended to provide a forum for the presentation of research papers on labour market issues (North and South) and is held in May each year. Presentations from researchers, academics, and labour market practitioners are invited for this forthcoming conference. Those interested should submit a title and brief abstract (max 400 words) to tom.mcdonnell@nerinstitute.net

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• Employment and Unemployment
• Precariousness and Low Pay
• Earnings and Labour Costs
• Productivity and Human Capital
• Labour Market Participation, Demographics and Labour Supply
• Labour Market Institutions (Minimum wages and collective bargaining)
• Labour Market Transitions, Migration, Age and Gender
• Pensions and Pensions Policy

Registration

The conference is open to all who are interested and is free to attend. However, you must register your intention to attend the conference by contacting info@nerinstitute.net

Key Dates
Submission Deadline:
31 March 2017
Registration Deadline:
5 May 2017

Notification of Acceptance:
14 April 2017

Conference Date:
12 May 2017
Contact: tom.mcdonnell@nerinstitute.net

The outward re-orientation of the 1950s and 1960s

T. K. Whitaker has been much eulogised over recent times, and rightly so. But, as he recognised himself in later life, he had not been infallible (is anyone, ever?) and others whom he opposed at the time deserved credit for their part in the outward re-orientation of the economy in the 1950s and 1960s.  In an article just published in the Dublin Review of Books, I offer an assessment of his significance over the period.