Queensland betting tax change prompts racing withdrawal, drop in bets

Betting on Queensland country racing events has fallen up to 80 percent as online bookies continue to wage a war against the Palaszczuk government.

Online bookmakers – in response to the government’s broadening and increase in the betting tax – have deprioritised Queensland races from their mobile apps, resulting in a collapse in bets.

Ladbrokes’ parent company Entain removed Queensland races from its ‘next to jump’ category for four weeks in June in response to the government’s gambling tax announcement.

Entain chief executive officer Dean Shannon said the move had a significant effect.

“Early indications for us show it was 30 to 40 percent reduction in activity on Queensland racing is what we experienced when we deprioritised … that’s on metro,” he said.

“It was up to 70 to 80 percent reduction in non-metro and country racing so it does make a material effect.

“It’s not something that we want to do to our customers.”

Mr Shannon said Entain was again featuring Queensland racing “as a show of good faith”, but warned a removal could again occur.

“We definitely have to consider our options going forward if we haven’t got some sort of reduction in product fees,” he said.

It is understood Sportsbet is also shifting its focus away from Queensland racing products, with Sportsbet CEO Barni Evans declaring the tax “calls into question” the economics of betting on Queensland racing.

“As such we have been testing demand by investing in other racing codes,” he said.

“We are yet to receive any meaningful proposal from Racing Queensland as to how they propose to ameliorate the enormous cost increases they have been complicit in imposing on corporate bookmakers.”

However, Treasurer Cameron Dick in June declared the tax hike would even the playing field and increase funding for regional racing.

A spokesman for Mr Dick on Monday said online bookmakers’ removal of Queensland races from its ‘next to jump’ category would not affect tax revenue.

“The point of consumption tax and associated levy are applied based on the location where a bet is placed, not the location of the event it is placed on,” he said.

“Any bet placed in Queensland delivers more funding for country racing in Queensland.”

Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild said the increase to the point of consumption tax would ensure funding certainty for the state’s racing industry.

“Every wagering operator has a role to play in funding the Queensland racing industry to ensure ongoing prize money increases and investment in infrastructure,” he said.

“We’re really proud to provide the funding to the racing industry that we do while continuing to provide generous promotions to our customers.

“It’s time foreign-owned operators did the same.”

Mr Rytenskild said $500m in profits made by online bookmakers were felt offshore.

“Currently foreign-owned online bookmakers pay half the wagering fees and taxes as the local TAB,” he said.

“Foreign owned online wagering operators should pay the same wagering fees and taxes as the local TAB – that is fair.”

Originally published as Racing bets fall 80pc after state tax hike backlash

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