Wednesday 17. August, 2016

Sportsbet Scraps Plans Due to South Australian Gambling Taxes

Australian online bookmaker, Sportsbet, has scratched its plans for a $20 million high tech data facility to be built in South Australia and has terminated its sponsorship of the Gawler racecourses due to the state’s decision to introduce a gambling tax.

The state government announced it would be introducing what has been dubbed a “punter’s tax” – a 15 percent tax on net wagering revenue for all betting companies that offer services within South Australia.

Sportsbet announced that it had planned to develop a $20 million high tech data facility in the state to support similar facilities in Melbourne and Darwin. However, the new tax has persuaded them to consider developing in the Northern Territory rather. Ben Sleep, chief financial officer of Sportsbet said the state government changed the rules without consulting the companies that are impacted and this makes them wary of investing tens of millions of dollars in the state.

“The lack of consultation on the new tax makes us concerned,” stated Mr Sleep.

“If we are going to put a $20 million back-up data facility into South Australia they would need to change legislation to do that. If Tatts don’t like it and they shut it down, that would be a disaster for us.”

Mr Sleep also announced that the new gambling tax led Sportsbet to reevaluate its sponsorship of the Gawler racecourses and resulted in a decision not to renew its sponsorship. It has been sponsoring the South Australian racecourses for a number of years, but will now focus on its existing relationships in Victoria, including with Ballarat, Benalla, Echuca and Kyneton.

“We are really disappointed to end our association with Gawler, and while we remain committed to supporting regional racing across Australia, sadly it won’t be in South Australia,” he announced.

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