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‘Sneaky’ tax may see Aussie state raking $110M from online gambling

TAGs: Australia, POCT, south australia, Victoria

The government of Victoria, a state in southeast Australia, is gearing up to take a slice of the online gambling pie.

‘Sneaky’ tax may see Aussie state raking $110M from online gamblingAccording to Australian media outlet Herald Sun, the Andrews government has slipped in a “radical proposed shake-up to gaming tax” to the Budget papers even though Victoria has agreed with Canberra and other treasurers not to touch on the “punters tax” issue until the national online gambling framework is examined.

The proposal, if passed, will see Victoria rake in AUD150 million (US$110.69 million) each year in tax grab from online gambling players, which would help the state “prop up its surplus,” according to the news outlet.

Victoria’s Budget papers noted that the government plans to develop a point of consumption tax (POCT) for bookmakers, which Shadow treasurer Michael O’Brien described as a “sneaky, new tax.”

The federal government is already mulling to harmonize state-level online sports betting POCT not to raise revenue for revenue’s stake, but to ensure that harm minimization for both punters and national sporting bodies.

South Australia was the first state to publicly call for the imposition of a POCT back in 2015, when state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis declared that it was “important that online gambling operators pay taxes considering that they are generating profits based on betting activities of South Australians.” The state expects to reap A$9.2m per year from its 15% POCT on wagering revenue, which officially kicks in on July 1.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said South Australia’s proposal was “a good starting place to look at models” for a federal POCT plan, noting that various state and territory governments had agreed to examine the matter further, subject to discussion with their respective governments, “with the reservation of the Northern Territory.”

Morrison, however, offered no hints on when the new national POCT plan might take effect. The country has been preoccupied with other changes to its online betting regime, including banning poker and casino products, as well as in-play sports betting and, most recently, curbs on gambling advertising during live sports broadcasts.

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