Tabcorp chair urges federal government to harmonise gambling tax

Paula Dwyer, the chairperson of Australian gambling giant Tabcorp, said in a media interview Friday that one of her priorities when the merger with Tatts is achieved will be a campaign to persuade Australian federal politicians to impose a nationally consistent digital betting tax that will apply also to foreign-owned bookmaking companies operating in Australia (and competing with her company's digital products).

Dwyer says it is important that politicians introduce laws that keep pace with fast-moving changes in the betting environment in the country…a reference to the growing popularity of online sports betting and the strong corporate performances from local subsidiaries of overseas bookmaking groups like Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes.

Her decision follows the imposition in some Australian provinces of a 15 percent point-of-consumption tax on online betting, which has triggered campaigns by bookmakers urging other provincial governments not to follow suit.

Dwyer says that federal harmonisation of the p.o.c. tax is necessary, noting:  “We don't want to create opportunities to have efficiencies between the states exploited.”

Tabcorp has long argued that point-of-consumption taxation is necessary to “level the playing field” in the gambling industry, as retail betting companies like Tabcorp and Tatts have to pay significantly higher taxes than online bookmakers, most of whom are licensed in the Northern Territory.

Discussing the upcoming merger with Tatts, Dwyer said that her challenge now is to complete the integration of the two companies and deliver the A$130 million savings on synergies that she has committed to.

She estimated that integration will take around two years to complete, with most of the savings achieved by 2020.

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