Tatts' Robbie Cooke wants reform.

Tatts’ core business remains strong but CEO Robbie Cooke wants to see industry reforms to level the playing field. (Image: couriermail.com.au)

The Tatts Group has seen its digital taking sore despite the company’s annual net profit dropping by 7 percent.

The Australian betting operator’s annual revenue for the year was $3.03 billion, a full 4 percent higher than it was in the last account period. However, following taxation, the overall profit line slipped to $223.8 million which is 7 percent lower than the previous year.

Also contributing to the fall in profits was the $12.8 million loss Tatts took during the sale of Talarius to Novomatic, as well as a $540.5 million compensation payment to the Victorian government over a 2012 pokie dispute.

Positives Despite the Drop

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news for the operator. Despite profits being down, lottery takings were up by 8 percent to $2.4 billion, while digital sales improved by 32 percent.

However, while Tatts CEO Robbie Cooke was relatively happy with the latest results, he took his moment in the spotlight to call for changes to Australia’s licensing policies.

Lending his support to the efforts of anti-gambling Senator Nick Xenophon, Cooke called for tougher sanctions on offshore bookmakers who are, in his opinion, getting a better deal than native operators.

“Tatts pays $1.4 billion in lotteries and wagering tax and duty to state and territory governments. The fiscal position of these jurisdictions is damaged by operators who are circumventing the tax and duty system for their own financial benefit,” explained Cooke.

Things Need to Change

As well as appearing to support South Australia’s proposed 15 percent tax on corporate bookmakers, Cooke suggested that remote operators are actually deceiving customers about the “true nature of their products.”

While the battle between anti-gambling lobbyists, native operators and offshore bookmakers is one that doesn’t have a clear resolution, Tatts can at least take confidence in its latest results.

Indeed, had it not been for some unexpected financial blows, the company would have shown a small amount of annual growth.

Moreover, with digital sales continuing to improve, it’s clear the company is now keeping pace with modern iGaming trends, which is something it has to do if it wants to continue growing as a company.

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