New taxes to be set for Australian bookies

Western Australia sports betting

Credits: gamblinginsider.com / istockphoto.com

Sports betting operators in Australia would have to pay new taxes and promotional restrictions as state governments try to control the segment.

Australia.- Australian state governments are trying to set new taxes and promotional restrictions over online sports betting operators in order to further control the activity, which is the only one authorised for operating online in the country.

Western Australia’s latest budget, revealed last Thursday, includes a 15 percent point of consumption tax (POCT) for online sports betting operators that generate revenue f rom the state’s punters, CalvinAyre reports, and will take effect in 2019. The online POCT was first introduced in South Australia, after assessing the Northern Territory-licensed operators weren’t paying enough.

The Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) industry group is advocating against the state’s plans, as it believes it may difficult the federal government’s own plans to develop a national POCT. RWA director Stephen Conroy explained that bookies face an effective tax rate of 40 percent on their punter revenue and advanced some of these costs will pass to bettors, making them flee towards international operators in case the state’s plan succeeds.

On a different note but still regarding online bookies, federal and state ministers have agreed on new restrictions that will be set in order to ban online operators from offering certain types of free bets and incentives. New account signups and ‘refer a friend programs’ are among these future bans, in addition to operators being required to allow punters to withdraw bonus bet winnings with no further turnover requirements. According to the new rules, punters will be required to ‘opt in’ to receive marketing pitches and will be provided with more information on how to turn off alerts like those.

Authorities have also agreed on a national self-exclusion register, which must be operational by the end of this year and a voluntary pre-commitment scheme will be mandatory starting June 2018, forcing new customers to set deposit limits when they open accounts.