Australia’s online sports betting operators should brace themselves for yet another back-breaking tax burden.
Just days after the Australian Wagering Council has launched a campaign against South Australia’s (SA) new point-of-consumption tax, Western Australia (WA) now mulls on imposing a “punters tax” for sports wagers by next July.
The Western Australia reported that legislators are keen on duplicating South Australia’s punters tax, with state opposition flagging interest in the 15 percent betting tax.
It means that punter tax of WA will apply to betting on horse, harness and greyhound racing, as well as sports betting such as AFL, cricket and soccer, election-related punting and even the Academy Awards.
Any bets placed in the state with Australian-based gambling companies might be subjected to the tax should WA decide to enact its own punter tax law. At present, the WA Council of Social Services (WACOSS) called on the Barnett Government to enact its own laws.
“We acknowledge that the most vulnerable people might be paying this tax but believe the marginal increase in cost can be used for better treatment of problem gambling,” WACOSS chief executive Irina Cattalini said, according to the news report.
Senator Nick Xenophon, a habitual gambling scold, has earlier urged governments across Australia to wage a war against the betting agencies, which he accused of dodging their tax obligations.
Some WA politicians were more circumspect as they recognize the possible negative effect of the proposed tax measure. WA Treasurer Mike Nahan was non-committal to the punters tax push since he hadn’t seen the implications of South Australia’s move.
He said the State Government “will continue to monitor developments on this issue,” especially since a betting tax was considered last year as part of the Federal Government’s tax reform process.
The WA Government also recognizes that there are kinks in its legislation that the SA needed to iron out due to the fact that the “place of consumption” tax breaks new ground in Australian tax law.
Like Nahan, Shadow Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the ALP is on a wait-and-see mode on the developments in SA, but did not have immediate plans to introduce a new tax if elected.