ACT government continues to cut race tax | Canberra Times

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sport, local sport, canberra races, government law, excise tax point

The ACT government will remain the only state or territory to keep all excise point taxes to themselves. This means that Canberra’s racing industry continues to miss the $14.99 million annual tax cut. In all other jurisdictions, the tax that takes 15 percent of all bets made on the ACT is partially refunded to the racing industry. That ranges from the 20 percent NSW Racing took back to the massive 80 percent the industry took in Tasmania. It is believed that Canberra Racing will be happy to receive 20 percent – the same return as NSW. This would be a $3 million boost to Thoroughbred Park each year, a much needed boost after Canberra Racing had to move its meetings across the border to Queanbeyan when the lockdown closed borders to key personnel like jockeys. The ACT government introduced what they call the betting operations tax in early 2019, increasing their coffers by nearly $30 million in about two years. This year’s Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate betting turnover is believed to hit record levels as the country begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, potentially increasing government revenue in the process. NSW used the funding created by the relatively new tax to raise their prize money to the point where they now own two of Australia’s richest races – the $15 million Everest and the $8 million Golden Eagle. It also made it difficult for Canberra Racing to keep up with the cross-border prize money offered in the NSW country, which has also benefited from growth in funding. The ACT government and Canberra Racing are currently in the process of negotiating a new memorandum of understanding that includes a financing model for the industry in the capital. But the government has said it has no plans to distribute betting operations taxes back to the racing industry. They felt that their current model provided a more reliable revenue stream to the Canberra racing industry than any other state. The current MOU expires in June 2022. “Canberra Racing Club and Canberra Harness Racing Club receive substantial direct budget funding each year as part of a memorandum of understanding,” an ACT government spokesperson said. “This provides the ACT racing industry with greater financial certainty than its peers in other jurisdictions, and there are no plans to change that. The betting operations tax contributed $14.99 million to ACT government revenue in 2020-21.”