New Zealand’s new Racing minister David Bennet has wasted no time in bringing to reality a 2015 project designed to introduce a point-of-consumption tax on online gambling operators accessing Kiwi punters.
The minister introduced an amendment to the 2003 Racing Act in parliament this week, although the actual tax rate was not included in the detail and remains open to debate. A 2015 working group recommended that a 2 percent tax on turnover be levied, but it is not known whether this will be carried into the amendment discussion.
Observers have in the past claimed that the introduction of a p.o.c. tax similar to that applied in the UK and contemplated by Australia is really designed to help protect local gambling monopoly New Zealand Racing Board and its TAB betting service from more advanced and attractive international online rivals.
The amendment bill specifies that online operators may not be taxed more than the total amounts that the NZRB provides to sports organisations and the local racing industry annually, a provision that is also extended to fees paid by operators in respect of betting information on New Zealand-based races or sports events.
Operators who generate less that NZ$ 60,000 in revenue from Kiwi gamblers are exempt from both information fees and the proposed new p.o.c. tax.
The amendment suggests punitive measures in the form of fines against individuals or companies ranging from NZ$ 20,000 to NZ$ 50,000.
The minister included some interesting benefits for the NZRB, including permission to offer punters in-play betting on the outcome of races, although not events occurring during the event; this brings the NZRB into line with the TAB, which already has these privileges for sports betting.
The amendment bill can be accessed here: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2017/0288/latest/DLM7380406.html?src=qs