Other Australian states soon to implement punters tax: Tabcorp CEO

Tabcorp chief David Attenborough has warned global rivals that other Australian states may soon be making similar arrangements to South Australia’s point-of-consumption tax, local media reports.

SA’s point of consumption tax was announced in June, marking the first time an Australian jurisdiction has targeted betting companies based on where the bets are made, rather than the location of the operator.

The tax, to take effect on July 2017 will be calculated as 15 percent on the net wagering revenue of all betting companies, with the government estimating to raise around A$9.2 million (US$7 million) a year in new revenue.

“It is difficult to give a compelling reason why South Australia wouldn’t introduce it,” said Attenborough, quoted by The Australian. “Essentially, it’s their population doing the betting and they are not seeing any returns from the corporate bookmakers taking bets from their population.”

“I think other states will move fairly fast,” he added.

Ben Sleep, CFO and regulatory affairs director at SportsBet said the company remained of the view that the point-of-consumption tax was an “ill-considered” initiative.

“Sportsbet and wagering operators already pay their fair share of taxes in Australia in the form of GST, corporate tax and fees to racing and sporting bodies — for Sportsbet this amounts to over A$125 million ($95.8 million) a year,” he said.

Last month, the bookmaker scrapped its plan for a A$20 million high tech data facility in South Australia after the state government’s decision to introduce a “punters tax”.

Sleep said in a statement the data facility would have supported other such facilities in Darwin and Melbourne, and delivered millions of dollars of ongoing investment each year through maintenance, servicing and enhancements.

He said the investment will be redirected to the Northern Territory.

“The South Australian Government’s decision to introduce its Punters Tax without industry consultation has created significant uncertainty, with South Australia now considered a high-risk investment destination for any Australian-based bookmaker,” Sleep said.

“Sportsbet cannot invest tens of millions of dollars into a state where its Government has shown that it is willing to significantly move the goal posts without consultation with those most affected.”

The punters tax is said to come into effect in July of next year.