Clubs Australia opposes expansion of online gambling services
Clubs Australia, the organisation representing Australia's 6,500 licensed clubs in a A$7 billion business sector, has urged the Australian government's review of online gambling to recommend a ban on further expansion of online gambling services; the imposition of a place of consumption tax on internet operators; and to reject representations from the online sector to allow in-play betting.
Major overseas bookies with operations in Australia like William Hill, Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power are unlikely to be pleased with the Clubs Australia assault, and have themselves recommended a liberalisation of in-play betting and more enforcement against illegal internet operators.
In a no-holds-barred submission to the review reported by the Sydney Morning Herald this week, Clubs Australia observed:
"In Clubs Australia's view, Australia's licensed online wagering operators have used the pretence of competition with illegal offshore wagering providers to extract a range of regulatory concessions from governments with respect to taxation and harm minimisation. Any suggestion that further regulatory concessions, such as live in-play betting, are warranted due to competitive pressures from illegal offshore wagering operators should be dismissed."
The organisation also suggested that the federal government should consider following the example set by the United Kingdom in introducing a point-of-consumption tax on overseas online betting groups. UK-licensed online operators now pay a 15 percent tax on profits in respect of British business they generate.
Clubs Australia also applauds a measure being considered by the South Australia provincial government that would remove the different rates that apply between traditional and online operators, and suggests if it were implemented in Australia, the extra funds could help in fighting breaches of the Interactive Gambling Act.
"Clubs Australia understands online wagering operators located in the Northern Territory paid only $7 million in wagering tax in 2014-15 on gambling turnover of $9.7 billion. By comparison, Clubs would pay in the order of $200 million in gaming taxes on a similar level of turnover," the organisation noted in its submission.
Australia's reputation as a hard-gambling society was underlined recently when CBA economist Craig James presented statistics claiming that in the nine months to end September 2015 a record A$24.1 billion was outlaid on gambling in Australia – around A$1,000 on average for every person in the nation.
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