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NSW government mulls Tabcorp proposal to increase POC tax to 20%

| By Robert Fletcher
The New South Wales (NSW) government is to consider a proposal from Tabcorp to increase point of consumption tax (POCT) in the Australian state to 20%.
NSW POCT Tabcorp

Wagering operators active in NSW currently pay (point of consumption) POC tax at a rate of 15%. However, Tabcorp is proposing the government implements the rise to bring NSW in line with other states that charge 20%.

Both Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory currently have a POC tax rate of 20%. NSW only increased its rate from 10% to 15% in June 2022. It introduced an initial 10% rate in January 2019.

POC tax applies to the location where bets are placed, rather than where the operator that accepts wagers is located. This means all operators active in NSW are subject to tax in the state, regardless of their licence registration location.

Alongside POC tax, the Tabcorp proposal includes several other points related to reforming legislative and licence requirements for wagering. Potential reforms include a requirement to enter an agreement with the racing industry and 10% shareholder cap.

NSW treasurer calls on operators to pay their “fair share”

The NSW government said the proposal will ultimately be considered based on value for money, benefits to the NSW taxpayer and its ability to secure a sustainable future funding model for the NSW racing industry.

The government is inviting submissions from wagering operators and any other parties that face being hit by the changes.

“Gambling companies should always be paying their fair share,” NSW treasurer, Daniel Mookhey, said. “The NSW government will apply strict scrutiny to Tabcorp’s proposal. Change will happen if it is clear that the public will be better off.”

The minister for gaming and racing, David Harris, added: “The NSW racing industry generates billions of dollars for the NSW economy and sustains tens of thousands of jobs. The NSW government wants to ensure the industry has a sustainable future for all those who make a living from it and participate in it and that the public is getting its fair share from all involved.

“We must be satisfied the proposal meets the interests of both the wider community and the racing industry and its stakeholders, before we consider implementing any elements of it.”

Tabcorp hails “positive” step for NSW

Issuing a statement on the matter, Tabcorp welcomed the decision to establish a formal process on the proposal.

If implemented, Tabcorp said the reforms would create a level playing field and modernise retail exclusivity, similar to recent reforms in Victoria and Queensland.

“This is a positive step towards ensuring the sustainability of the NSW racing industry,” Tabcorp said. “We look forward to working constructively with the NSW government and the NSW racing industry during this process.”

Addisons warns higher POCT could reduce competition

Speaking to iGaming Business, Jamie Nettleton, gambling law partner at Addisons raised concerns over the rate impact such a move could have on NSW, particularly in terms of competition in the market.

“A further increase in POC tax will impact bookmakers significantly,” Nettleton said. “It is assumed that will increase the tax revenues that will be generated but will this be the case? Some commentators have suggested otherwise.

“Also, further increases in the taxes and other imposts will limit the ability of bookmakers to offer attractive betting options. This in turn is likely to restrict competition in the sector as only a few of the larger bookmakers will be in a position to absorb the increased tax.

“But an increase in the POC tax is only one of the possible outcomes of the review – it will be of interest to see the other reforms being considered.”

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