A range of new betting taxes is set to hit the profits of online gambling operators in the Australian market in 2019, as New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory introduce their new ‘point-of-consumption’ taxes on January 1.
The new taxes will focus on digital gambling losses where a bet is placed, rather than the location of the bookmaker’s licence, and will hit the income of companies licensed overseas.
Already in force in the states of South Australia and Queensland, the taxes were introduced in response to lobbying from TAB operator Tabcorp and pubs organisations, as well as political pressure. Many in state governments and Australian-based betting companies had argued that foreign-owned online companies, including Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and Bet365, were not making a fair contribution, and were enjoying an advantage over Australian-based operators.
Speaking about the imposition of the new taxes, a spokesperson for Tabcorp welcomed their introduction and highlighted the co-operation that had brought them into existence:
“Tabcorp has supported the introduction of point-of-consumption taxes and has worked with governments and the racing industry to ensure that the significant fees and taxes we already pay under our state licences are recognised.”
The new taxes will not be uniform across all of the Australian states. South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and ACT will impose a 15 per cent tax on bookmaker revenue, while New South Wales have set their rate at 10 per cent, and Victoria has opted for 8 per cent.
According to industry analysts, it is likely that only the largest online bookmaking operators will have the financial muscle to bear the new taxes, which could lead to an increase in the rate of consolidation that has already impacted the competitive online gambling market.
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