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Australia – Tougher laws needed to prevent unlicensed offshore betting in Australia

By - 30 October 2014

Australia’s Tabcorp Holdings is calling for a crackdown on unlicensed offshore betting in Australian racing and sport.

Speaking at the company’s AGM, Tabcorp Chairman Paula Dwyer said. “A key area we believe needs to be addressed is the rise of unlicensed offshore betting on Australian racing and sport. While it is difficult to measure precisely, there are estimates that as much as 14 per cent of betting by Australian-based customers is conducted with operators who are not licensed in Australia. This is concerning on a number of fronts.

“Firstly, because unlicensed offshore operators are not regulated to Australian standards, there are significant risks to consumers in terms of inadequate protection, as well as to the integrity of sport and racing. Secondly, revenue that would otherwise be returned to the Australian racing industry, and our governments for investment into communities and social infrastructure, is instead going to unlicensed offshore operators.”

Pointing out that jurisdictions such as France have prohibited unlicensed offshore operators from taking bets from French residents, Ms Dwyer added: “Such changes are also being put in place in the United Kingdom this week. Tabcorp’s view is that a similarly powerful response is needed in Australia, and we are in active dialogue with the Federal Government on this issue.”

2014 is a milestone year for Tabcorp as it will celebrate its 20th Anniversary and the 50th Anniversary of the NSW TAB. On December 9 1964 the NSW TAB started operations with six outlets and betting on just two meetings. Today there are 2,100 venues across the state offering betting on sport and racing from 14 countries and co-mingling pools with Singapore.

Since its formation in 1994, Tabcorp has paid A$16bn in gambling taxes and AUD9 billion in funding to the racing industry. In its financial overview for 2014 the company has declared a statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) of AUD 129.9m, an increase of 2.6 per cent. There have also been advancements in Tabcorp’s strategic position with NSW retail wagering exclusivity extended to 2033 and its Queensland Keno licence extended to 2047.

Ms Dwyer thanked the company’s 3,000-plus employees for their efforts. “We are well diversified across four businesses, with a deep customer base and the strongest and most trusted brands in the gambling market,” she said. “Pleasingly, we ended the 2014 financial year in a stronger position than when we started it.”

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