South Australian betting tax proposal to be discussed today

News on 25 Nov 2016

The South Australia Treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis, will take his controversial new betting tax proposal a step further today (Friday) when he briefs a meeting of federal and state ministers in Melbourne chaired by federal Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge.

The meeting will also consider responses to illegal offshore wagering being offered in Australia, and other reforms.

Koutsantonis wants to persuade the ministers to adopt a 15 percent “point of consumption” tax on net gaming revenue with a target date for implementation mid-2017.

The proposal has already exposed disunity in the Australian gambling community, with Sportsbet pulling sports sponsorships and a plan for a A$20 million data centre in South Australia, and rival Ubet stepping in to take over the abandoned sponsorships.

Koutsantonis, a former gambling minister, has been invited to “impress upon the meeting the importance to capturing revenue from the ‘super profits’ of companies in the jurisdiction in which they are doing harm”.

The SA Treasurer claims that his p.o.c. proposal is a sensible reform, which he hopes will be adopted by both his and other Australian provincial governments. In this he has the support of anti-gambling action groups and organisations concerned with responsible gambling.

Koutsantonis says that his tax proposal was in part inspired by a South Australian Council of Social Service report recommending broad gambling reforms, including a national p.o.c. tax.

Media reports have suggested that other provinces are monitoring the South Australian proposal closely, not least to assess whether gambling companies are prepared to resort to litigation if it is introduced.

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