|International gaming operator, Lasseters Corporation Limited today announced the Northern Territory Government has agreed to halve its online gaming tax rate and to extend the company's online gaming licence for up to 22 years.|
Speaking at Lasseters' Annual General Meeting in Brisbane today, Managing Director, Mr Peter Bridge, said these measures improve the global competitiveness of the company's online business by reducing costs and providing regulatory certainty.
Under the terms of the agreement, the tax rate paid by the company's operating division, Lasseters Casino Pty Limited, has from today, been reduced from 8 per cent to 4 per cent of gross gaming revenue. An annual fee has not been charged.
In a separate initiative, the Northern Territory Internet Gaming Licence issued to Lasseters Casino for its business, Lasseters Online, has been extended until 2018, with a five-year option. It had been due to expire on 30 June 2003.
Mr Bridge said the government has actively supported the development of an online gaming industry in the Northern Territory for many years and it is good to see they remain attuned to world-wide trends in the industry.
'The Northern Territory's new tax rate is the lowest in Australia and compares favourably to the lowest in the world,' Mr Bridge said.
'This is critical for ensuring that our cost structure is competitive in a global market which operates on very tight margins.'
As an example, Mr Bridge said that in 2001, the lower tax rate would have saved the company almost $600,000 based on Lasseters Casino's revenue of $14.7 million.
'This is an enormous cost saving that can be invested in strengthening Lasseters' operational base and financial position.'
Mr Bridge said the extension to the company's licence provides unprecedented regulatory certainty.
'After the uncertainty about online gaming regulation in Australia created by the Federal Government over the past few years, we welcome the stability of up to 22 years under a consistent operating agreement,' he said.
The changes to Lasseters' regulatory and tax conditions were major components of a cost reduction and business development strategy implemented by the new management team following the merger of Gocorp Limited and Lasseters Casino Pty Ltd.
Also at today's AGM, shareholders re-elected Mr Allan Farrar as a director of the company. Mr Farrar remains a non-executive director along with the Hon. Fred Finch.
Lasseters Corporation Limited operates as a holding company. Lasseters Casino Pty Ltd is a trading business operating the Lasseters Online casino and is reported as a wholly owned subsidiary. The subsidiary is the principal source of revenue for Lasseters Corporation.