Australian politician wants turnover tax on sportsbooks

AustraliaflagAn Australian politician is pushing to have the country’s gambling taxation laws overhauled, and has the sports betting industry in her sights.

National Party senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie is pushing the federal government to impose a new national gaming tax and effectively ban gambling with overseas operators using ‘banking and other tools’.

McKenzie has made a formal submission to the government’s tax review committee with a proposal to introduce a federal turnover tax of 0.05%.

In her submission, McKenzie said the main objectives behind the proposals were:

  • Australians should only wager with Australian regulated operators;
  • Betting on Australian events should contribute to the operation and compliance environment of sporting events;
  • Australian wagering operators should pay fair taxes, on equal terms across all States and Territories, and be internationally competitive;
  • Australian problem-gambling services should be well resourced; and,
  • There should be no disadvantages financially to any State or Territory from a change in the system.

McKenzie argues that the tax should be collected by licensed operators on all transactions in or concerning Australia or Australian based events; and that the aggregate proceeds of taxes should be largely distributed between the states and territories to compensate them for forgone state revenue.

With regards the turnover taxation model, she added: “It is assumed the velocity of betting will increase – meaning customers will bet with a higher frequency – often on the same event (a horse race or soccer match); and this model assumes a method is needed that does not discourage most customers from betting with a higher frequency but introduces a mechanism to curtail abuse by high frequency professional gamblers or robots.”

Much of the argument was also about making sure that sports betting operators pay ‘reasonable taxes’ in order to ensure a level playing field. She argued: “Traditional on-course bookmakers should be supported to maintain a presence at racecourses, by removing all unfair competitive advantages for corporate bookmakers.”

McKenzie concluded: “Currently there is no national approach to taxing international wagering, and Federal action is needed to ensure that Australia’s national, economic and social interests are preserved.

“The allocation of taxation revenue raised via uniform taxation on the gaming industry would result in multiple benefits, including:

  • A simplified regulatory regime;
  • Ongoing support to regional infrastructure development and growth; and
  • Providing potential support to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and communities.”

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