The Victorian government has failed to announce a point of consumption tax on corporate bookmakers in the Australian state’s 2018-19 budget, according to a report.
Working on it
South Australia has already introduced the tax at 15% while Western Australia is expected to implement its 15% tax in 2019, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. It was initially thought that Victoria would be next to introduce a tax of 8% percent, with New South Wales expected to follow suit with its own tax in the coming months.
Notably, though, while the Victorian government referenced the point of consumption tax in last year’s budget, no further detail has been provided in this year’s. According to State Treasurer Tim Pallas, the tax was still being worked on, with details expected to be made available over the next few months.
Regardless of where a betting operator is located, the point of consumption tax means that governments will receive tax from wagers placed by players in their state. If the tax is introduced, it is expected to generate A$150m (£83m, $131m) a year in Victoria.
More gambling ads?
The lack of information about the point of consumption tax has resulted in fears that this will see bookmakers becoming more aggressive in their gambling campaigns, which could result in Victorian residents being deluged with more betting ads.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform has raised questions about this latest development. It has said that former Labor senator Stephen Conroy, who heads the online bookmaker lobby group, Responsible Wagering Australia, should stop pressuring state and territory governments to delay and minimize the tax, according to Tim Costello, a spokesperson for the Alliance.
“The foreign bookies have been deluging our kids with ads because the super profits from the failure to tax them has attracted a flood of new competition fighting for market share in the lucrative online market,” he added.
According to a survey conducted by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, seven in ten people think that young children are exposed to too much gambling advertising. Despite this, however, as Victoria doesn’t currently have a point of consumption tax in place, it’s likely that it will increasingly become an attractive location for offshore betting operators.
The gambling and betting market in Australia has grown in recent years. Yet, with increasing competition and regulatory pressure at state and federal levels, the gambling scene has undergone a period of change. This includes the sale of William Hill Australia to CrownBet, which, in turn, was acquired by The Star’s Group, a Canadian gaming and online gambling company in March.
Last year, the state of Victoria did ban gambling ads on public transport and prevented bookmakers from advertising near schools and train stations.
Gambling ad ban
Steps, however, are being taken to reduce children’s exposure to betting ads in Australia. A report published last month stated that from the end of March gambling ads will no longer appear on live sporting events broadcast on Australian television.
Each year it’s estimated that the average Australian adult loses around A$1,000 (£554.5, $753) as a result of gambling. While measures are being taken to remedy the impact gambling can have on people’s lives and their families, it’s the younger generation that the Australian government is seeking to protect.
Yet, while this may be the case, for some the ban isn’t going far enough. At present, it will apply from five minutes before the start of play and five minutes after the final whistle. According to anti-gambling campaigners, adults and young children remain at risk because players are still being interviewed and commentators are still talking about the game after the final whistle.