The state of Victoria is set to impose an 8% point-of-consumption tax on online gambling operators – a rate that is considerably smaller than the one introduced or considered in other states across the country. The treasurer of Victoria, Tim Pallas, officially announced that the new tax on remote gambling companies would be rolled out in January and is expected to bring an amount of AU$30 million on an annual basis.
Some of the opponents of the new point-of-consumption tax have expressed their fears that the rate imposed in Victoria would charge local gambling operators less in comparison to the taxes charged in other states. A 15% tax was already imposed in South Australia in July 2017, while Western Australia is due to implement a tax of the same rate in January 2019. The state of Queensland has made a pledge to follow the example and bring in the same tax.
The State Government has been put under pressure from both parties in the debate, with local gambling companies such as bet365, Sportsbet and CrownBet sharing concerns that a 15% point-of-consumption would have a devastating effect on their operations. The companies have pushed for a lower tax rate through their industry group Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), claiming that they should be taxed under a lower rate in order to keep their businesses alive.
For the time being, most bookmakers have been issued operating licenses by the Northern Territory’s Government, which has rolled out significantly lower tax rates. Now, after years of avoiding paying taxes to the state of Victoria, remote gambling operators will have to pay, while other companies which already pay a 6% levy in Victoria will have to face the increased tax rate and its consequences.
Both Operators and Anti-Gambling Campaigners Disappointed
As mentioned above, the new point-of-consumption tax will apply from the beginning of 2019, after the piece of legislation under which it is imposed is passed by Parliament. All gambling operators in Victoria would have to pay the new tax, with companies also being responsible for working out the location of players who place the bets.
After the announcement of the 8% point-of-consumption tax, the RWA expressed its disappointment with the decision of the state, but still applauded the “consultative approach” of the State Government.
Stephen Conroy, the Executive Director of RWA said that the remote gambling industry already pays a massive amount of consumption tax through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the Federal Government of Australia and added that an 8% levy was not adequate enough considering these large contributions. According to Mr. Conroy, the implementation of the new tax would reslt in the state of Victoria having one of the largest betting tax rates on a global scale.
On the other hand, anti-gambling campaigners had said they were not satisfied with the new levy imposed in the state, as they had previously pushed for a 15% tax rate, with the revenue set to be brought to Victoria should be spent on social welfare and other initiatives in favour of society.