With the federal government struggling with a massive overspending problem, a tax windfall has been proposed on Australian gambling companies by Senator Bridget McKenzie.
The National Party of Australia member wants the country’s antiquated tax system overhauled so that gambling firms would have to pay their “fair share”. Enforcement of a uniform rate of tax on gaming would result if McKenzie’s proposal succeeds. A ban on betting with offshore gaming firms is also being sought by the Victorian senator. While gambling with overseas sites by Aussies is currently allowed, an Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) review in December may aid in addressing the issue anyway.
Legal sports betting sites are regulated by some Aussie states themselves, while most other online gambling sites in Australia are banned. McKenzie proposes that the tax revenue would be spread over states where the sites are not currently legislated. New gaming licenses would be issued conditional upon agreement of a 0.05 percent levy on all Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR), per the proposals launched with Malcolm Turnbull the new prime minister of Australia.
Online sports betting in Australia is in the midst of a boom, but states like Northern Territory pay minimal taxes on regulated sports betting sites, while overseas gambling sites pay nothing to Aussie coffers. Before he was replaced by Turnbull, Tony Abbott instigated a review of the IGA to gage whether major loopholes could be investigated; that amidst the biggest potential purging of gambling laws in Australia in the last 15 years. Recently, high-profile cases of Australian law being exploited by overseas gaming firms have surfaced. Most notably, so called ‘click to call’ betting on UK firms like William Hill sports betting sites have been investigated. That type of betting allows ‘in-play’ bets to be places by Aussies during a sporting event as it’s in progress. While not illegal under the IGA, in-play bets are restricted to over the phone. Bypassing the problem, firms have installed special buttons on their online sites connecting their customer’s computers to a live support member.
As part of the shakeup of Australia’s gambling laws an August report by Financial Counselling Australia prompted the IGA to propose regulatory changes to the South Australian Gambling Code of Practice, as well as an announcement by the state’s deputy premier Troy Grant on Saturday that prohibits the placement of in-play odds from being broadcasted in New South Wales next year.