New tax on Victorian punters' losses

Kaitlyn Offer

Online betting companies will have to pay their fare share in Victoria with digital bets about to be hit with an 8 per cent tax, although it's almost half that of other states.

The new "point-of-consumption tax" - set to reap about $30 million a year - targets online companies that have been avoiding a state levy.

Other agencies already paying a six per cent Victorian tax will also pay the higher rate, Treasurer Tim Pallas announced on Monday.

"We've got a situation at the moment where online gaming operators are effectively avoiding tax," he told reporters.

From January, the losses pocketed by online bookies will be taxed based on where the bet was placed rather than the location of the account.

Companies will be responsible for working out the location of people placing the wagers, Mr Pallas said.

"They are responsible corporate citizens, we'd expect them not to break the law," he said when asked how it will be policed.

The rate of eight per cent is nearly half of South Australia's 15 per cent tax, with other jurisdictions like WA also considering a similar tax at the higher end of the scale.

"We expect other states will look at what Victoria is doing here; we think there is a law of diminishing returns around the revenue that the state would get by setting the tax higher," Mr Pallas said of the lower tax rate.

Responsible Wagering Australia lobbies for bookmakers including Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and CrownBet.

It's executive director, former senator and Victorian Labor heavyweight Stephen Conroy, says the new tax will "have significant negative and far-reaching consequences for Victoria".

"Last financial year, the online wagering industry directly employed around 1000 Victorians, paid $6 million in Victorian payroll tax and paid $80 million to the Victorian racing industry," he said in a statement.

"The online wagering industry already pays a significant amount of consumption tax through the GST, as well as corporate income tax to the federal government."

The Victorian Racing Industry will get 1.5 per cent of the net wagering revenue to soften the hit on turnover.

Shadow Treasurer Michael O'Brien said this was the 12th new or increased tax by the Andrews Labor government, despite a promise for no new taxes at the last election.

"This particular tax will certainly go on to punters," he told reporters.

"It would have been better to have actually had a leadership position and have a national approach."