SYDNEY (Reuters) - Western Australia state will sell its horse-race betting business and levy a new tax on foreign bookmakers, the state treasurer said on Tuesday.
The WA TAB could fetch as much as A$500 million ($353 million), The Australian Financial Review newspaper reported.
The sale, which won’t begin until next year, comes as the cash-strapped Western Australia state government sells assets to repair its budget.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the decision was in “the best interests of the whole state,” in a statement from his office, which gave no sale price. A 15 percent tax on bets taken from Western Australians will be levied from Jan. 1, it added.
His government has also promised to sell a majority stake in its electricity grid, via a public float.
Australia’s biggest betting company Tabcorp Holdings Ltd (TAH.AX), a prospective buyer of the gambling business, said in a submission to the state government, published on Tuesday, that it would be “ready to respond” to a sale process.
($1 = 1.4146 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Sunil Nair