Gambling Contributions Received by Australian Political Parties Significantly Increase over the Last Decades

Olivia Cole

The horse racing industry in Australia has faced accusations of getting special treatment by the authorities as local Governments are allowing people at marquee events. At the same time, gambling companies that offer horse race betting have been boosting their donations to political parties, totalling almost AU$500,000 on an annual basis.

According to new research data, the annual contributions made by the aforementioned gambling operators rose from AU$9,900 in 2010/2011 to AU$473,161 in 2019/2020. Over the past decade, the overall donations made by the industry totalled AU$2.7 million, with the most money being contributed by the local gambling giants Crown Resorts and Tabcorp. The Liberal Party accepted donations worth AU$1.3 million, followed by the Labor Party that received AU$1.1 million in contributions. The National Party of Australia got AU$229,000 as benefactions.

The massive increase in donations has been unveiled by data that was prepared for the Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi by the parliamentary library. Ms Faruqi said that the authorities in both Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) have given special treatment to the horse racing industry, referring to the local Government’s decisions to allow people at the Melbourne Cup and the Everest.

Crown Resorts and Tabcorp Reported as the Largest Contributors to Australian Political Parties

The aforementioned data includes all gambling operators listed in the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), popular specialist betting companies and industry bodies. The research also included companies that may have been operational at the start of the decade but have ceased operations since then.

As said above, Crown Resorts and Tabcorp have been the two major contributors to local political parties, but companies and organisations such as BetEasy, Sportsbet and Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) have also been made.

For the time being, most Australian states and territories allow gambling operators to make political donations, except for New South Wales where the practice was officially suspended in 2010. The fact that contributions to political parties are still legal has not saved the authorities from dealing with disapproval, though.

On the other hand, some authorities’ decisions to give their favour to organisers of horse racing events have also faced criticism, such as the government of Victoria that decided to allow 10,000 people to attend the Melbourne Cup regardless of the fact that the state is facing continuing restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, the local authorities have revealed they may give the green light to some other spring racing events if the state reaches its 80% full vaccination target.

Media Investigation Claims Gambling Operator’s Political Donations Total AU$80 Million between 1998/99 and 2019/20

A recent investigation of ABC News into political payments made in the period between 1998/1999 and 2019/2020 in the country revealed that gambling companies made political donations worth more than AU$80 million.

The local media hub’s investigation was based on information gathered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) Transparency Register, which discloses the financial dealings of everyone involved in the electoral process in the country, such as political parties and candidates, every year. ABC News investigation found that stakeholders in the local gambling sector contributed more than AU$81 million to political parties in the aforementioned period.

During data analysis, more than 370 entities involving not only casino and gaming operators but also companies working in the entertainment, hospitality, banking, sport, property and media sectors, were found to have made political donations in the two-decade period. However, the investigation found there is a significant connection between politics and gambling in Australia. Taking into account the fact that the gambling sector here fully depends on the regulation of both the national and state Governments of the country, contributions to political parties is not surprising.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams
Author: Wanda Peters