New tax set to hit online bookmakers in Western Australia

Business News

Western Australia has increased pressure on online bookmakers with the introduction of a new wagering tax, which the sector warns will be passed onto punters.

The state government announced in its budget yesterday a 15 per cent point of consumption tax, which is similar to a tax South Australia introduced in July this year.

Responsible Wagering Australia said it was disappointed by the Western Australian government’s move given it had agreed to participate in the Federal Government’s national wagering tax plan.

The industry body argued that the new state tax would see Australian-licensed online wagering operators paying an effective tax rate of more than 40 per cent on revenue from customers in WA, making the state among the highest taxing jurisdictions in the world for wagering products.

“The WA Government’s decision needlessly puts at risk the potential of achieving nationally harmonised approaches to taxation and consumer protection in the wagering industry,” the RWA said in a statement.

RWA’s executive director Stephen Conroy said the WA government’s decision to go it alone would force operators to pass on the additional costs to WA consumers.

“The resulting downturn in wagering in the state will result in lower returns to the state’s racing industry and an increased reliance on government funding,” he said.

The move comes as a scheduled ministerial meeting takes place today to discuss a national consumer protection framework.

WA racing and gaming minister Paul Papalia dismissed the industry’s concerns, saying the tax would be informed by the work done on a national tax.

The national move on an online wagering tax was fuelled by the Weatherill government’s announcement of a 15 per cent tax on the net wagering ­revenue of betting companies earning more than $150,000 a year and offering services to South Australians. It was the first time an Australian jurisdiction targeted betting companies based on where bets were placed rather than where the company was located, which for online bookmakers is mostly in the Northern Territory.