Tasmania Drops Online Gambling Tax

Published October 12, 2009

Tasmania Drops Online Gambling Tax

Apple Isle hopes to attract online gambling companies to its shores.

Tasmania has dropped its tax on bookmaking operations, opening up the Australian state to the possibility of becoming a hub for online gambling companies from the country's mainland and from around the world.

The Apple Isle dropped the tax last week, replacing it with a simple flat fee of A$250,000 for a license to run gambling activities.

Tasmanian Treasurer Michael Aird said the move could make Tasmania a center for online gambling companies from around the world and create much-needed jobs for the state, which currently has an unemployment rate of above 5 percent.

However, opposition parties were quick to oppose the move.

"With the opportunities opening up with the national broadband network, we would encourage the government to make sure we're not just a competitive place for gambling businesses but a competitive place for all businesses," Liberal Party spokesman Peter Gutwein was quoted as saying by local newspaper The Mercury.

The state can now claim to have one of the lowest gambling taxes in the world, along with other locations like Malta and the British territory of Gibraltar.

The move came as gambling giant Betfair announced it was considering a relocation to the mainland after its current license expires at the end of 2010.

Betfair made the announcement after being excluded from the government's new tax break.

The company has been licensed in Tasmania since 2005, with more than 100 employees based at its headquarters in the state capital Hobart.

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