They had warned that they would do it. They did it. The senators adopted Wednesday evening, November 29, as part of the examination of the finance bill for 2024 and against the advice of the government, an amendment which increases the amount of taxes levied by 38.8 million euros. on sports betting and allocated to the budget of the National Sports Agency (ANS), the operational arm of the State for public policies in matters of sport.
It is “better finance the investments necessary to renovate or rebuild the key sports facilities we need, such as swimming pools, gymnasiums and stadiums”argued Michel Savin (Les Républicains), one of the authors of this amendment.
“The level of revenue collected from sports betting to finance sport remains unchanged since 2021, while their total return is increasing sharply. Today, only 19% of the revenue from these bets finances the sports budget.recalled Mr. Savin.
In the draft budget for 2024, the ANS was to benefit from 270.9 million euros in credits paid by the State (compared to 264.6 million in 2023), to which were added 166.1 million euros of assigned taxes and 10 million euros of own resources.
The amount of these assigned taxes thus remained constant compared to 2023: 34.6 million euros came from the total sums collected by the State (i.e. 181.7 million) from online sports betting, and 71.8 million of the total sums taken from bets (i.e. more than 246 million). Furthermore, the “Buffet tax”, collected on television broadcast rights, also remained stable (59.7 million).
“Urgent to move from words to action”
“A few months before the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and on the eve of a year of great national cause for the promotion of physical and sporting activities desired by the President of the Republic, it was urgent to move from words to action”argued Mr. Savin, who said he hoped that the National Assembly and the government “will be able to align their promises with reality by maintaining these additional credits dedicated to sport”.
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It’s unlikely. The government remains hostile to such an increase in the 2024 budget in the sums taken from sports betting and allocated to sport. An amendment, which was in the same direction as that voted in the Senate and had been voted on in mid-October by the deputies, had not been retained in the text that the government had imposed by bringing into play article 49.3.
While warning that the status quo will prevail for the year 2024, the Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, however explained, on October 25 before the senators, that she « [n’écartait] not at all this discussion for the future ».
“There is a very important principle – which was pursued with the “Buffet tax” and which must be pursued with the tax on sports betting – which is that sport finances sport. We therefore have the capacity to seek additional reserves of credits”she declared.
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