Bookmakers say Queensland may lose AU$1.75bn due to betting tax increase

Queensland plans to increase betting taxes from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.
Queensland plans to increase betting taxes from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

Queensland plans to raise taxes from 15 per cent to 20 per cent on 1 December would disadvantage Responsible Wagering Australia’s members.

Australia.- Bookmakers have criticised the planned increase in betting taxes in Queensland from December 1. Justin Madden, chief executive of Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), says raising the tax from 15 per cent to 20 per cent would encourage RWA members to deprioritise Queensland races, which he says could cost the state AU$1.75bn.

Queensland Treasury expects Racing Queensland to receive around AU$80m a year in funding. However, Madden said he believed the state’s budget forecast was off by at least AU$50m.

He said: “The major policy decision was announced without any prior consultation whatsoever with RWA or our members and follows, we understand, 40 meetings between the government … [and] Tabcorp. “As a consequence of this lack of full consultation with industry, the decision was regrettably taken with an absence of key facts about the economics of wagering and racing in Queensland.”

RWA members include Ladbrokes, Sportsbet, and PointsBet. Since the tax increase was announced, Ladbrokes has relegated Queensland Racing from its mobile app and cancelled an AU$7.5m sponsorship of the Brisbane Broncos. Sportsbet has cut its number of Queensland races.

Tabcorp, however, welcomed the decision over the tax. Tabcorp will be better off with reforms that will end its deal with state racing authorities, meaning the company will pay a smaller share of revenue to industry and the state.

Adam Rytenskild, the company’s chief executive officer, said: “Our competitors have foreign-owned bookmakers licenced in the Northern Territory … They are domiciled in tax havens such as Dublin and the Isle of Man to minimise their tax liability.

“They’ve rapidly grown their market share, and currently they capture about 75 per cent of Queensland’s digital wagering market. Yet they don’t pay their fair share of tax to ensure a sustainable and well-funded Queensland racing industry.”

Madden argued that RWA’s members pay a significant amount of tax in Australia.

Queensland to introduce tougher laws for casinos

The government of Queensland has announced a series of reforms to be contained in the Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. According to Queensland attorney-general Shannon Fentiman, the reforms will ensure casinos operate lawfully and transparently and take their responsibility to reduce gambling harm seriously.

New laws include an obligation for casinos to report breaches of the law and cooperate with the state regulator or face significantly increased penalties. The government will be able to issue fines of up to AU$100m. Further reforms include strengthened provisions on gambling harm and money laundering.

A number of the new laws were recommended by the Honourable Robert Gotterson AO KC in his independent review into The Star Entertainment Group, which was received on September 30.

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