Tabscorp (TAB), Australia’s largest gambling business, has allied with anti-industry group the Alliance for Gambling Reform as well as the Australian Hotel Association to lobby for higher taxes for online betting operators.
The newly-created trade association, named the Aussie Fair Play Coalition (AFPC), will push for other states to follow Queensland’s lead in harmonising the tax paid by online and land-based operators.
The group pointed to the fact that online operators are principally foreign-owned, and therefore argue that the inequitable tax rates unfairly penalise domestic businesses. While some online operators are from Australia, the majority are not based in Australian territory.
This argument is not a novel one – Victoria introduced the first point-of-consumption tax (POCT) in 2019, in the wake of fears that foreign-owned bookies were not paying Australian taxes.
Currently, the POCT stands at 10% in New South Wales and Victoria, 15% in the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia. Meanwhile, land-based operations vary: The totalizator tax is set at 19.11%, while poker machines (Pokies) are taxed at 65%.
Following the Queensland ruling Adam Rytenskild, TAB chief executive officer said: “Online betting has changed the market substantially since TAB’s licences were issued. On a relative basis, TAB currently pays double the fees to the local racing industries compared to other wagering operators.”
“Going forward we will all pay the same in Queensland. I commend the Queensland Government for delivering fair and much needed reforms that bring the wagering market into line with the modern economy.”