POC tax a threat to integrity: Betfair CEO

Australian betting exchange Betfair warns that “point-of-consumption” taxes could harm the integrity of racing and sports if it pushes punters to offshore illegal Asian websites, local media reports.

In Australia, the states of South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland have already moved to introduce POC taxes, while Victoria and New South Wales are soon to follow.

In a new report from Betfair, submitted to various state government officials, the online exchange argues that SA and WA’s tax rates of 15 percent are too high and would raise commission fees to unsustainable levels if the rates were replicated nationally.

Betfair says the rise in fees would cause a “leakage” of its customers to illegal operators offshore, which would entice Australian punters with better returns.

Chief executive Tim Moore-Barton said it would cause an integrity “black hole”, as betting activity through illegal offshore operators was untrackable.

“We provide racing stewards and sporting bodies real-time access to our data to look for anomalies in betting patterns,” Moore-Barton said. “This transparency is lost and not available when people bet offshore.”

Moore-Barton said that Betfair was aware of numerous examples of professional punters who have moved their betting offshore after Betfair hiked their commission to cover product-fee increases.

Betfair said the leakage of customers would also threaten revenue to Australian racing and sports bodies, as offshore operators do not pay fees.

“Assuming these customers bet via Betfair, this equates to approximately lost product fees to Australian racing bodies of A$31 million (US$24.3 million), and $7 million in lost GST to the federal government,” he said.