9 Jun 2016
Major parties asleep at the wheel.You want money? Look at at NT and Norfolk Island!
So if the major parties are looking for a late, sports-themed winner to get behind, here's an idea: a crackdown on the Northern Territory as a sports gambling tax haven.
For the big online betting houses, life is anything but tough at the top. They love it up there. And not without good reason. For them, it's a low-tax jurisdiction.
And by low, we're talking an effective tax rate of decimals of cents in the dollar. Figures released for the previous financial year showed the NT's betting houses had a turnover of $9.6 billion - yet paid just $4.77 million in tax.
While operators elsewhere can attract a tax rate of close to 60 per cent on their top dollars, the NT caps tax for betting houses at just over half a million dollars per year.
As a result, more than a dozen betting operations are now set up in the Territory capital. A number of them - such as William Hill, Bet365 and Paddy Power's Sportsbet - are foreign-owned.
In other words, the Territory has become a funnel through which billions of dollars are being fleeced - or at least taken - from local punters and then shipped overseas.
Senator Nick Xenophon once described the Territory's tax laws as "an absolute gift" to the bookmakers, who "must be laughing all the way to their offshore bank accounts".
Yet, another Australian territory has an even more attractive tax set up.
On lonely, cash-strapped Norfolk Island, bookmakers will pay no more than $300,000 in a year. It's a tax cap that has seen the likes of Ladbrokes licence its Australian operation through there.
The attention being given to possible covert influence being exercised by China in Australia shouldn’t distract us from recognising that ...