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Internet bookie firms in the Australian state of Northern Territory have signalled their approval of a government tax change that makes them more competitive, according to reports in The Age newspaper this week.

In it’s battle to compete with the rival state of Tasmania for online bookie business – reportedly worth $1.5 billion competitively attracted from Victoria and New South Wales alone – the NT government has scrapped existing taxes and replaced these with a 10 percent gross margin tax, payable on all betting events conducted under the NT wagering licence and capped at A$250 000.

Sportsbet chief executive Matthew Tripp said the changes would save his company about $2 million a year after tax. ”I certainly didn’t put a gun to the head of the territory, but I pointed out the fact that I’m in a portable business and I have to do what’s right by the business, and I appealed to them to review the taxation regime,” Tripp told The Age.

”I think it was too big a carrot for them to pass up, so they got their heads together and thought that they should put an offer together similar to that of Tasmania to ensure that everyone stayed.”

Tripp added that he had told Northern Territory officials that Tasmania, which is home to Sportsbet competitor Betfair, was trying to position itself as the ”hub of wagering in the country”.

Centrebet chief executive Con Kafataris said that the change would save his company A$700 000 a year after tax. ”The reduced tax rates are a welcome move which make it economic for us to maintain our presence in the territory and will assist the Northern Territory government in protecting jobs in the state,” he noted.

”Centrebet has been licensed in the NT for 17 years and has built a strong and productive working relationship with the NT government, which we look forward to maintaining.”

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