Legal & Regulatory News

Industry body the Australian Wagering Council (AWC) has stepped up its campaign against South Australia's point of consumption tax, labelling the proposed levy as a "punter’s tax".

Representing leading betting operators such as bet365, Betfair, Sportsbet, William Hill and Unibet, AWC's campaign aims to highlight the disadvantages of the tax to bettors in the state.

The 15 per cent point of consumption tax on bets was proposed in June by South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. It is expected to come into force by July 2017.

"If betting companies are making profits from South Australian punters they should be paying tax in South Australia, not in whichever jurisdiction their head office and servers happen to be located," Koutsantonis said at the time.

However, the AWC argues that Koutsantonis failed to explain that this new "15 per cent punters’ tax will target South Australians, worsen their odds and ultimately damage Australia’s uniform responsible gambling initiatives by pushing punters into dangerous and unregulated offshore betting sites".

"South Australians will bear the brunt of this tax through worse odds and fewer markets," AWC chief executive Ian Fletcher said.

"It doesn’t matter if you bet with your favourite bookie on course, in your local pub or club or online with a corporate bookmaker. The punters’ tax will hit you."

The AWC will launch a media campaign opposing the tax, taking out newspaper advertisements and promoting the cause on social media, as it looks to build up popular opinion against the levy.

"Should the so-called punters’ tax be introduced, South Australia will become the most expensive wagering environment in the world," Fletcher continued.

He believes that it will hit the leisure activities of South Australians as well as damaging the states’ racing and sporting industries by targeting bettors. 

"South Australian punters are being treated like a cash cow by the South Australian government," he said in conclusion. "Should it come into effect, the 15 per cent punters’ tax will mean all South Australians lose, including the South Australian government that thinks putting its hands in punters’ pockets is a fast track to easy money."

The new tax will be levied against licensed operators, who are expected to pass on the cost to consumers.