New Zealand has become the latest country to consider introducing a tax for online sportsbooks to protect its domestic industry.
The New Zealand Offshore Racing & Sports Betting working group said New Zealanders are increasingly being lured away from the TAB, a service run by the New Zealand Racing Board, which has a monopoly on the domestic market, towards off-shore online sportsbooks that can offer more attractive odds as they do not pay a domestic tax.
It said the total revenue made on sports betting in New Zealand is NZ$518 million (US$338 million) and that NZ$58 million of that now goes to off-shore companies.
The group is also concerned that off-shore sportsbooks rake in NZ$1 billion (US$650 million) from New Zealand sporting events and wants to see the country compensated. Its proposals include the introduction of an off-shore bookmaker fee and changes to the Racing Act designed to make the country’s sports wagering industry more competitive.
It follows a clampdown on off-shore sportsbooks from the Australian Wagering Council, which wants to use taxes, regulation changes and blocks on service providers to stop a large chunk of the money wagered Down Under drifting off-shore.
John Allen, CEO at the New Zealand Racing Board, welcomed the proposals. “There are about 40,000 Kiwis betting off shore, they’re betting about $58 million dollars [turnover minus dividends] and that’s doubled since 2010, so this is a growing problem,” he said, according to a report published at Tvnz.co.nz.
The Offshore Racing & Sports Betting working group said more punters are being lured away from the TAB and towards off-shore books due to them offering a wider product range, more attractive prices and a more aggressive marketing strategy.
Plans put forward to return the domestic industry to growth include permitting bets on sports that do not have a national governing body in New Zealand, and permitting the NZRB to introduce new products to the market.
It also wants to introduce an intellectual property fee on New Zealand sports so that off-shore sportsbook have to pay to take bets on them.
But it acknowledges how difficult that will be to introduce.
New Zealand’s Racing Minister Nathan Guy said: “Many offshore providers make no contribution to the local industry, to the New Zealand economy or to the problem gambling levy. The reality is we are trying to create a legislative tool with an extra-territorial reach, which is by no means simple,", per a report at Stuff.co.nz.
New Zealand, just like Australia, is trying to monetize the popular sports betting industry the best it can, which is not really any different than what is going on in the United States, where politicians are lobbying to allow sports betting in their backyards.