Will victoria break from other Aussie states on POC ax?

News on 13 May 2018

The Australian state of Victoria, along with New South Wales the country’s most populous, is reportedly considering a significantly lower point of consumption tax on internet gambling firms than that declared by other states.

Although Victoria and New South Wales have both committed to introducing the tax, they have not yet announced whether they will follow Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia in demanding a 15 percent rate based on GGR.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday that Victoria is expected to “go it alone” and introduce a new tax on digital betting companies at nearly half the rate of other states.

Online betting companies have been campaigning for a lower tax rate, arguing that 15 percent is unfairly high and will adversely impact their businesses. The Victorian racing industry is also reportedly concerned that excessive taxation could jeopardise online bookmakers’ hefty investments in the industry.

The Sydney Morning Herald was told by its sources that an announcement on Victoria’s intentions will probably be made sometime this week; state treasurer Tim Pallas last week said it remained his intention to “make an announcement in the near future”.

“To be clear, I’ve been speaking to everybody,” Pallas said, “whether it’s industry, sporting codes that think they’ll be adversely affected, other states about the possibility of a broadly consistent approach to the tax’s introduction and, importantly, anti-gaming groups, to make sure we have a clear appreciation of their view and their expectations about what we deliver.”

Responsible Wagering Australia, the trade association led by former federal government minister of communications Stephen Conroy, has been lobbying state governments for rates lower than 15 percent, pointing out that online betting companies make a significant contribution to the national economy through wages, other taxes, the product fees they pay to sporting codes, and race-field fees paid to the state racing bodies for the use of racing information.

A spokesman for the New South Wales government told the SMH that the state’s tax rate on the p.o.c. issue is still under consideration.

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