Bookies oppose point-of-consumption tax in Victoria

Australia’s online bookmakers are stepping up their efforts to sway government leaders in Victoria from adopting a point of consumption tax, local media reports.

While supporters of the point of consumption tax say it would “level the playing field” for gambling operators in the country, an industry group of Australian bookmakers is calling it a “naked tax grab” with no consultation.

Opposers to the POC tax added it would lead to higher costs, which would be passed onto consumers.

"Not many bookmakers would even be making a 15 percent margin on their wagering," said an industry insider speaking to Sydney Morning Herald.

"The downstream consequences for the wagering industry and consumers is very real, and we think the Victorian government is going to pay more attention than the other states have."

Industry group Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), representing Sportsbet, CrownBet, Bet365, Betfair, Ladbrokes and Unibet, said it will work with "all jurisdictions" to ensure the new taxes took into account the industry’s “significant contribution to the economy.”

"In the last financial year in Victoria, RWA's members employed more than 900 people, paid more than $127 million in wages, contributed $78 million to the racing industry and paid more than $11 million in sponsorships to support Victorian events and tourism," said a RWA spokeswoman.

Most of the lobbying has been directed at Victoria state Treasurer Tim Pallas. The state government said it was engaging in consultation.

"Like all states, we are looking into this national issue and will consider feedback received as part of an extensive consultation process," said a government spokesman.

The latest push in Victoria to adopt the POC tax follows on from a similar push in Queensland. The POC tax has already been adopted in South Australia, and Western Australia is preparing to follow suit with its own POC tax starting in 2018.

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