Victoria’s POCT proposal complicates Australia’s online gambling plans

  • The Australian state of Victoria has proposed a new, and large, gambling tax
  • The latest in a number of measures and changes in the country’s industry

Australia’s online gambling market has been shaken up by a review of the country’s laws regarding casino and poker operator’s ability to offer their services to local players.

australi victoria point of consumtpion tax
Australia’s Shadow Treasurer, Michael O’Brien has called the proposed tax ‘sneaky’

After banning online poker and various other products within the past few months, the state of Victoria has proposed a new gaming tax that would rake in over $100 million (USD) dollars per year.

A “sneaky” tax

The revenue would come from a Point of Consumption Tax (POCT) for bookmakers, which would mean that operators will have to pay taxes based on how much players wager within each state.

Shadow Treasurer Michael O’Brien has reportedly called it a “sneaky, new tax”, as the federal government is already making other plans for state-level POCT that would ensure that operators in all states are on the same page.

Different strokes for different folks

There is still a very fragmented market across the country’s online gambling industry. The federal government has very different plans to the various state governments, and it will be interesting to see national lawmakers try to corral local legislators.

South Australia led the way regarding POCT, requiring operators to pay 15%. The tax scheme will begin in July, while Victoria’s has yet to be passed. Canberra is also considering a different approach, which would reallocate the GST from online sports betting revenue for state use only.

How will they move forward?

All of these revelations come in the wake of Australia’s decision to ban online poker and lines of credit from online casinos. Now is a huge time of change in the country’s gambling industry, but it will take an impressive amount of coordination from state lawmakers to come up with a framework that works that benefits players, operators and the government.

However, there is one thing that everyone seems to agree on: player protection. It is a major priority for lawmakers to ensure that responsible gambling measures are the same across the board, to ensure that punters play safely, regardless of their location.

“We need a nationally consistent approach around harm minimisation, and need to make sure that all gaming operators are doing their bit regarding responsible gambling obligations,” says Victorian State Treasurer Tim Pallas.

It will be quite a while before all states can agree on a unitized approach to online gambling in Australia. Most in the industry hope that they will take the time to consider all of their options to ensure the best experience possible for players across the country.

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