Wednesday 27. April, 2016

Northern Territory Minister Looking to Loosen Gambling Regulations

Gaming minister, Peter Styles, has introduced legislation into the Northern Territory parliament that would loosen gambling regulations in the territory with the aim of encouraging more corporate bookmakers from setting up their operations in the north.

The gaming minister is hoping, specifically, to lure Betfair, Australia’s only licensed online betting exchange to the territory. Mr Styles said that the fees and tax structure in the Northern Territory were already attractive for the betting exchange and their regulatory approach offers “quicker response to operational issues than the Tasmanian regulator” where Betfair is currently licensed.

The Northern Territory licenses are the cheapest in Australia with the thirteen bookmakers licensed in the territory collectively paying $4.77 million in gaming taxes on $9.6 billion of turnover for the last financial year.

“This does not mean the Northern Territory is a pushover when it comes to approval process, but our smaller size allows us to move with greater speed,” he assured.

A spokesman for Betfair confirmed that the company would apply for a NT betting exchange license if the legislation passes. Betfair is owned by CrownBet which is licensed in the Northern Territory and the spokesman confirmed that it would make sense for the online betting exchange to be licensed in the same territory as its parent company.

Mr Styles approximated that Betfair would pay around $805,000 in license fees and taxes each year if it is licensed in the Northern Territory. A staff of twelve would most likely to be based in Darwin.

In December 2004, the Northern Territory refused to license Betfair, deciding they would not consider any license applications from betting exchanges. However, this viewpoint looks like it may change more than a decade later and Betfair may receive the license it originally sought.

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