Tabcorp chief David Attenborough speaks at the QUT business leaders forum with moderator, ABC's Kerry O'Brien.
Tabcorp chief David Attenborough speaks at the QUT business leaders forum with moderator, ABC's Kerry O'Brien. Rae Wilson

Tabcorp chief: Sort out the funding model

THE chief of Australia's largest betting company says he is lobbying governments to stamp out customer credit and ensure a viable funding model to support the nation's racing industry.

Tabcorp chief David Attenborough said the Northern Territory bookmakers could offer credit to customers when his company could not do the same in NSW or Victoria.

He said his NT counterparts also paid much less tax, suggesting they paid $2 million tax on the $5.7 billion they made while Tabcorp paid $292 million on the $10.88 billion generated.

Mr Attenborough, speaking in Brisbane at the QUT business leaders forum, said he had first been focused on taking the company on a technology journey since he took on the big job because customers were screaming for mobile access to betting.

He said 11% of all digital transactions were conducted over mobile in the last financial year but jumped to 50% during the recent spring racing carnival.

But Mr Attenborough said he was passionate about the racing industry, admitting he had a stake in a racehorse himself, and believed the unequal national regulations could affect its future.

"We believe it's not just really about Tabcorp, it's also about the funding of the racing industry," he said.

"Last year we funded as Tabcorp $730million to the racing industry - that's over five times our net profit.

"Compare that to the levy in the UK of 80 million pounds from all bookmakers.

"So it's a very effective funding model.

"My message to the racing industry and the government is - 'you've got to sort the funding model out otherwise you're just going to see a degradation in your industry and perhaps closing; it will become a mess over the next five to 10 years."

Mr Attenborough said the NT was reviewing taxation levels, the Federal Government was expected to look at removing gambling credit in the next calendar year and was already prepared to restrict advertising further if needed.

He said gambling was set up and regulated in Australia to ensure the racing industry, and the communities where meets occurred, were funded.

When moderator Kerry O'Brien threw in a question about the Tom Waterhouse ads and odds updates during sporting games, Mr Attenborough took the opportunity to have a swipe.

He said he would pause the game and fast forward it to the game resuming, or switch channels.

"From my point of view he overdid it considerably," he said.

Tabcorp has a 43% market share of the $26 billion Australian wagering market, has 3000 employees and about two million customers.

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