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Tabcorp, AHA launch 'fair play coalition'

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Tabcorp and the Australian Hotels Association are launching a campaign asking the states and territories to level the playing field between the TAB and online bookmakers.

The campaign began on Thursday with newspaper and television advertisements depicting the bookmakers sending their profits offshore in shipping containers.

The advertising cites ASIC filing to argue that foreign-owned bookmakers last year shipped more than $500 million in profits offshore while paying lower wagering taxes and fees to the racing industry than Tabcorp.

"Online betting has changed the market substantially since TAB licences were issued," said Tabcorp chief executive Adam Rytenskild.

"TAB is paying double the fees of foreign-owned operators, which was OK in a monopoly environment but not now.

"The market share of online operators has increased and they should be contributing the same level of funding to ensure the sustainability of the racing industry."

While some of the smaller online bookmakers are based in Australia, Tabcorp says its main rivals are all foreign-owned. Most are located in the Northern Territory.

Australian Hotels Association chief executive Stephen Ferguson compared the issue to big tech companies like Google and Facebook trying to minimise their tax in Australia.

"All our venues are Australian-owned, and they're largely foreign owned," he told AAP.

"We pay more tax to the racing industry, we support the racing industry, we pay most of the broadcast revenue to support the racing industry.

"The dividends from our businesses remain in Australia, and unfortunately with our foreign competitors, the bulk of their profits go overseas."

Queensland's Palaszczuk government agreed on Monday to unwind a 2014 agreement with Tabcorp that had it paying more than online bookmakers, while Tabcorp agreed to pay $150 million to settle a long-running tax dispute.

AAP has tried to contact Sportsbet, one of the bookmakers called out in the Aussie Fair Play Coalition's ads, for comment.

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