Tabcorp criticised following another attack on online operators
The release of Tabcorp's financial results this week was accompanied by another attack on the lower tax levels enjoyed by online operators when CEO David Attenborough criticised what he claims are the gross under-taxation levels enjoyed by online companies licensed in the Northern Territory of Australia.
"They are the lowest-taxed providers of gambling products in Australia by a large margin," Attenborough alleged, adding that his company paid A$188 million in wagering tax in New South Wales and Victoria, whilst online gambling firms paid a maximum of no more than $500,000 each in the Northern Territory.
The response was not long in coming; CrownBet's CEO Matt Tripp denounced the comparison as misleading, pointing out that Tabcorp enjoyed a monopoly as a major retail operator, whilst internet operators were individual and competing online-only enterprises.
Tripp added that CrownBet and other online operators paid all standard Australian taxes, along with the same racing and sporting governing body fees as Tabcorp.
"We're prepared to pay the same wagering licence fees as Tabcorp, so long as we are provided with the same exclusive rights to offer land-based retail, anonymous cash betting and run a totalisator exclusively across 2900 venues in Victoria, NSW and ACT," Tripp said in a stinging riposte.
Ben Sleep, the chief executive of Paddy Power online subsidiary Sportsbet agreed, opining that the differences in tax levels reflected the significant benefits that Tabcorp enjoys through its monopoly of the retail gambling business.
Attenborough responded by claiming that Tabcorp pays large licence fees and commissions for its retail presence, commenting that his rivals were all "busy in a lot of retail venues" using cell phones to promote their products without paying their way.
InfoPowa readers will recall that earlier this week online operators banded together to campaign against the introduction of a point of consumption tax by the South Australian provincial government.
Attenborough had something to say about that too, claiming that the online sector had only itself to blame for the proposal, and that Tabcorp supports moves to level the taxation playing field.
However, he cautioned government tax authorities not to indulge in what he referred to as "double dipping" taxes which could adversely affect operators (presumably like his own company) who "already provide significant support to the industry."
Attenborough listed a number of online betting activities that he is unhappy with, including too much sports betting advertising, in-play betting on sports and illegal offshore operators accessing Aussie punters.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa