Bookmaker tax turns off TAB buyer

businessman with thumbs down

One of Australia’s biggest betting companies, Bet Easy, says that a new proposed tax on bookmakers due to be discussed in the state parliament this week has dissuaded the company from buying the Western Australia TAB.

On Tuesday, the WA state government brought forward reforms of the state’s racing sector which included the sale of the WA TAB and the introduction of a 15 per cent profit tax on any profits earned from within the states, described as a the new “point of consumption” tax.

Bet Easy holds a license from the Northern Territory and is owned by global corporation The Stars Group. Matt Tripp, the company’s Chief Executive, said that they had been interested in buying the TAB, and had spoken with the state government but that they were no longer bidding:

We have been engaging with the government and its advisors as an interested party in the possible sale of the WA TAB. A tax rate of 15 per cent is more than twice the rate that applies to the TABs in other states and seriously decreases the attractiveness of the asset.”

Years of uncertainty

The decision by the WA government effectively ended years of uncertainty, during which there have been several public consultations on the issue. While in opposition, the WA Labor Party had opposed the sale, but they have now reversed their policy to pave the way for privatisation.

Under the proposed tax, foreign-owned bookmakers will have to pay 15 per cent on all betting profits, wherever they are licensed. Thirty percent of the revenue will be handed to the WA racing industry, while thirty-five percent will go to a racing infrastructure fund. So far, the WA government hasn’t revealed what price they would be putting on the state TAB.

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