Australia’s online bookies have banded together to fight a plan by the South Australian government to impose a 15% tax on local punters.

The bookies yesterday sent out emails to those with accounts warning them of the “Punters’ Tax that will impact every South Australian who places a bet”. Clicking on a link in the email generates a rather nifty pre-signed email that can be sent to your local MP with the click of a button.

They’ve also taken out full-page ads in the News Corp press. This one’s from the Oz

stopthepunterstax

It’s not really an unexpected response. A piece in the Oz today carries the argument that if Australian-based operators have their SA punters taxed, those punters could then move to using overseas-based operators who wouldn’t apply a tax required in South Australia.

When SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis was asked last month about potential blowback from the gaming industry, he responded: “Bring it on.”

“If the industry don’t like this, if they think they can raise all this revenue and pay not taxes, I think that’s ridiculous,” he said.

While online bookies may be unhappy about a state-based tax on their customers, they are happy to take advantage of tax differentials in where they base their operation. As The Saturday Paper reported recently, most of Australia’s online bookies have their head offices in the NT because taxes there are capped at $550,000 a year per operator.

Peter Fray

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