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William Hill may leave Australia due to tighter gambling regulations

Global gambling company William Hill has announced it is reviewing its Australian operations because of changes to betting laws that take effect next month, with the tighter regulations cutting its profits considerably.

Federal and state governments agreed last year to ban online betting companies from extending lines of credit to customers.

In a statement, William Hill said: "Given the credit betting ban in Australia and the likely introduction of a point of consumption tax in a number of states, it is clear that profitability will increasingly come under pressure."

Long time anti-gambling advocate and former South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has been pushing for a credit betting ban for years. "I don't have a violin small enough for William Hill," Senator Xenophon said. "The fact that they are thinking of moving out of Australia because of this very reasonable and well overdue ban on credit betting indicates how greedy and desperate they are. There's a clear understanding from gambling experts, those at the frontline of treating gambling addiction, that credit betting actually fuels the addiction. Clearly a significant proportion of William Hill's profits are coming off the backs of people who were desperate enough in some cases to get credit to continue their losing streak. That's why this ban will make a big difference and the fact that it will hit their profitability is a good thing.”

The credit betting ban, due to come in effect nationally next month, will stop gambling companies offering "free" bets to customers when they run out of money.

Point of consumption tax was introduced in South Australia last year, forcing betting companies to pay the state 15 per cent of the net revenue they earn from bets. Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria are following suit with similar measures.

Industry analyst Tommy Wu from market research firm IBISWorld said there is still lots of money to be made from gambling in Australia. "At the moment the Australian sports betting industry [is] actually quite profitable," Mr Wu said. "[Betting companies have] the ability to scale their operations without significantly increasing costs.”

 

Source : ABC News, 16th January 2018