Tabcorp calls for overseas-based online bookmaker crackdown
Tabcorp is pushing the Federal Government to even the playing field when it comes to wagering.
Tabcorp’s chairman Paula Dwyer wants a ban on rival offshore betting companies operating in Australia.
An estimated 14 per cent of betting by Australians is with non-licensed offshore operators, Ms Dwyer told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.
Tabcorp argued that it is not just self interest motivating the demand for change though, Ms Dwyer said consumer protections and the integrity of sport is at risk from these unlicensed offshore companies.
“Because offshore operators are not regulated to Australian standards, there are significant risks to the consumer in terms of inadequate protection, as well as to the integrity of sport and racing,” she explained.
Ms Dwyer argued that the public purse is also being short changed.
“Revenue that would otherwise be returned to the Australian racing industry, and our governments … is instead going to offshore operators,” she said.
Tabcorp pointed out that European governments are cracking down on the practice, with France prohibiting unlicensed offshore operators from taking bets from French residents and the UK soon to adopt similar rules.
Tabcorp wants a “similarly powerful response” and said it is in “active dialogue” with the Federal Government about it.
It is also bending the Coalition’s ear about harmonising tax across all state and territories.
Operators who base themselves out of the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island are able to exceed the payouts Tabcorp can offer because they pay less tax and racing contributions, observed Ms Dwyer.
“Because they are licensed in regimes … where different requirements enable them to return significantly less to the racing industry than the TABs,” she added.
Ms Dwyer said change was needed to ensure the future of Australian racing and to ensure taxpayers received a fair cut of the winnings.
William Hill Australia CEO Tom Waterhouse descried the criticism as “ridiculous”.
“We pay race field fees on an identical basis no matter which state or territory we are licensed in,” he said in a statement. “William Hill Australia pays more in taxes than it makes in profit.”