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Queensland to introduce new betting taxes on bookmakers

QLD Treasurer Curtis Pitts
QLD Treasurer Curtis Pitt

Online betting sites, including Lottoland, will have to pay a point of consumption tax if Queensland’s Labor Party is re-elected.

Queenslanders will go to the polls on Saturday, and according to Treasurer Curtis Pitt, Labor will introduce new betting taxes on corporate bookmakers if they win.

The proposed point of consumption (POC) tax will mirror the system introduced in South Australia in July this year, where betting sites pay tax on bets depending on the location of the punter.

All Australian online bookmakers are licensed by the Northern Territory regulator and pay tax to the NT Government.

Western Australia recently announced it would be introducing a POC tax from January 2019, while several other states are also considering the move.

The Australian Federal Government has announced plans to implement a 15 percent POC tax nationwide under a national framework.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), which supports a nationwide POC tax, slammed Queensland’s POC tax.

“This new tax will put a handbrake on the racing industry in Queensland and directly throw into jeopardy more than 300 jobs,” Executive Director of RWA, Stephen Conroy, said.

“Queensland racing needs to be supported to grow and compete, not taxed out of existence.

“This new 15% wagering tax will put racing and jobs to the wall.”

The Labor Party said a 15 percent betting tax would raise more than $90 million over three years.

The government also revealed that the Tatts Group, which is in the midst of completing a merger with Australian gambling giant, Tabcorp, would be spared from paying the tax.

Pitt explained that the tax “is about levelling the playing field”.

Tatts has been campaigning to get the online lottery betting site, Lottoland, shut down for the past few years.

According to the Herald Sun, Tatts donated almost $100,000 to political parties, including a $2000 gift to One Nation Leader, Pauline Hanson, the day after she called for a national Lottoland ban.

Lottoland CEO, Luke Brill, has urged the government to increase taxes and said the company welcomes the POC tax in Queensland.

“Lottoland has always been willing to pay its fair share of tax in Australia but the framework has not been in place,” Brill said in a statement.

“With this move, every time a punter places a bet with Lottoland in Queensland, we will be able to contribute to important infrastructure and community projects in the State.

“We acknowledge it is unusual for a company to endorse a new tax but from day one we’ve said, ‘tax us, don’t ban us’, so we fully support this initiative.”

Pitt also revealed three other revenue plans, including tax hikes on large land holdings, foreign property investments, and luxury cars.

He said combined, it would deliver $491 million to the state, and the new measure would only hit “less than one percent of taxpayers”.

While Pitt said that the government would attempt to save more than $1 billion in savings over the next four years, he explained that it would not be through forced voluntary redundancies.

However, the NT News reports that the new tax would threaten to destroy online betting companies and the 350 jobs that go with it. Up to 18 betting companies pay $10 million per year in local tax to the Northern Territory Government.

The media outlet revealed Deputy Chief Minister and Treasurer, Nicole Manison, said she is prioritising the corporate bookmaker industry.

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