New Zealand taskforce recommends a fee be imposed on offshore bookmakers

A New Zealand taskforce on off-shore betting in the racing industry is recommending a fee be imposed on offshore bookmakers who are thought to be taking about NZ$58 million ($40 million) a year in bets from New Zealand gamblers.

The Minister of Racing, Nathan Guy, commissioned a report from a working party of industry leaders and government officials following claims of increasing amounts of money being placed off shore rather than through the sole legal betting agency which is owned by the racing industry.

Profits from that agency are returned to the Thoroughbred, Harness and Greyhound racing bodies to promote the sport.

As in Australia, offshore bookmakers have increased their activities in recent years but do not pay local taxes, share their profits or fund problem gambling services.

Guy told a racing industry conference he would take proposals to establish the levy to cabinet next year, but agreed the levy would be “challenging” to implement and enforce. It could raise up to US$11 million a year which would go to the industry to offset the losses in revenue from offshore betting.