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Federal government to consider consumption tax on online gambling

Sat, Mar 25, 11:59am by Senior Writer

Still reeling from the passage of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill earlier this week, the online gambling industry in Australia could be set for more federal government regulation, with treasurer Scott Morrison mooting a national consumption tax on online betting.

South Australia will introduce of a 15 per cent point of consumption tax from July, which will see all sports and racing betting online in the state paying a return back to the state government.

The SA government expects to reap just under $10 million from the new law which it will use to fund Gamblers Help programs in the state.

Treasurer Morrison met with state and Territory ministers on Friday and told reporters afterwards that he believed that South Australia’s tax could be applied in a national framework and provide a nationally consistent approach to gambling taxes.

Currently, online betting companies pay tax in the state or territory where they are registered, with the majority of them licensed in the Northern Territory, which has a significantly lighter tax burden.

Morrison said he will be watching the implementation of the SA tax with interest and will look to change to a national approach in the coming years.

“We were able to agree, subject to state and territory governments’ conferring again with their cabinets — and with the reservation of the Northern Territory — to move forward to prepare a proposal for a nationally consistent approach to (a) point of consumption tax on online gaming,” Mr Morrison told reporters.

“Now this is a very important issue both from a revenue perspective but frankly more important from a social perspective. And we all agreed that it was necessary to work on a nationally consistent approach. Already in South Australia there is legislation that’s dealing with this and so that provides a good starting place to look at models.”

“But a nationally consistent approach … around harm minimisation is necessary. This is not about raising revenue for revenue’s sake.”

Several of the big online sports betting companies have objected to the South Australian law, which they say makes it a very expensive jurisdiction to operate in.

A national law would be a major blow to an industry which was significantly impacted by the changes included in IGAB. The new amended act officially bans all in-play online betting.

But it also clarified the status of overseas operators in the Australian market, establishing civil penalties for overseas operators who target Australia customers without an Australian licence.

The law effectively bans all online casino and online poker, which can not currently operate in Australia.

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