Tabcorp urges Victoria to raise online operator taxes amid alleged imbalance

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Tabcorp is lobbying for increased taxes to be applied to online bookmakers, according to the Brisbane Times.

The local news outlet claims Tabcorp, whose demerger with The Lottery Corporation was confirmed last month, is seeking to ‘pressure’ Victoria Treasurer Tim Pallas to boost the tax on digital gambling losses for companies such as Sportsbet (based in Ireland) and Ladbrokes (Isle of Man), with the tax rate currently set at 10%.

The point of consumption tax (POCT) was first introduced in Victoria in 2019 to combat foreign-owned online gambling services who circumvented the paying of tax in Australia.

The rate was initially set at 8% in Victoria, the lowest tax rate of any jurisdiction before it was lifted to its current level, in line with New South Wales but still significantly lower than South Australia and Western Australia, which take 15%.

Pertinently, Queensland raised its rate from 15% to 20% last week following ‘intense’ pressure from Tabcorp, which claims it faces a higher tax burden than foreign-owned operators.

“TAB pays double the fees and taxes, which works in a monopoly environment, but the market share has changed,” explained Adam Rytenskild, Tabcorp CEO, whose appointment was confirmed last month.

“Online operators have increased their share and should be contributing to the industry on a level playing field.

“All we want is a level playing field where everyone pays the same taxes and fees. That’s fair.”

Anti-gambling group The Alliance for Gambling Reform has echoed the sentiments of Tabcorp, calling for an overhaul of the tax, licensing and advertising arrangements of online bookmakers.

In response to the debate, a Spokesperson for the Victorian government said that “decisions on the POCT rate will be made in the best interests of Victorians and the racing industry”.

Meanwhile, Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), the online bookmaker lobby group which recently appointed former Labour minister Justin Madden as its CEO, has signalled its opposition to any POCT changes. 

Following Queensland’s tax hike last week, the lobby group said the taxes “unfairly entrench the monopoly enjoyed by established and land-based wagering service providers at the expense of the new and emerging online industry”.