Last week the Australian province of Queensland became the third state to roll out its version of a 15 percent “point-of-consumption” tax for online gambling companies, and local media reports indicate that operators – most of whom are licensed in the Northern Territory – are reportedly ramping up their lobbying against the new tax, which may seriously impact profitability.
The bookmaking groups argue that they already contribute to the national economy through wages, taxes, product fees paid to sporting codes, and lucrative race-field fees paid to the state racing bodies for the use of racing information.
South Australia is already busy implementing the new tax, which has been the subject of discussions between the various states and the federal government, and Western Australia is preparing to follow with a similar tax early next year.
State and federal treasurers claim that the new tax will help level the playing field with totalisator providers Tabcorp and Tatts who pay significantly higher taxes on their land activities.
Responsible Wagering Australia, a trade association representing online bookies like Sportsbet, CrownBet, Bet365, Betfair, Ladbrokes and Unibet, has criticised the Queensland decision, labelling it a “naked tax grab” imposed without consultation.
Earlier this year Credit Suisse noted that a similar point-of-consumption tax introduced in England did not reduce wagering revenue when it was implemented in 2014, but did cut industry profits.