Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3659 ..
ACT in 2014 and almost 24 per cent of all losses on horse and greyhound racing. This is despite this population making up only 1.5 per cent of adults in the territory. As I have said before in this place, we know the harm experienced by problem gamblers is not limited to the individual but has significant flow-on effects for their friends and families.
These types of gambling have historically been difficult to regulate, especially more recently with the expansion of online betting companies and greater availability of online betting through smartphones and other devices. Of course, it will always be difficult to regulate across the illegal and offshore elements of the industry. At the same time, we have seen in other jurisdictions that regulating betting based on the point of consumption enables governments to more effectively tax wagering occurring within their jurisdiction.
Historically when wagering took place, largely in the form of in-person transactions at a local TAB or with a bookmaker, the old taxation model based on the location of wagering companies was obviously effective. Now that people are engaging in betting activities in different ways and betting companies are moving to base themselves in low tax jurisdictions, we need to rethink our approach.
Other jurisdictions have already made or are starting to make this shift, with South Australia and Queensland having adopted similar models to the one proposed in this bill. Victoria has also introduced a point of consumption wagering tax at a low level of eight per cent, and Western Australia has announced a 15 per cent tax will be introduced from 1 January 2019. The Greens are supportive of the point of consumption tax model and the 15 per cent rate being proposed in this bill for the territory.
The obvious apparent difficulty with a point of consumption approach is being able to definitely know the real-time location of the consumer when they are placing a bet. This is particularly an issue for the ACT, with the proximity of our New South Wales neighbours and the likelihood of people crossing the border on a regular basis.
This bill creates a reasonable workaround for this issue by allowing betting operators to determine location based on a person’s registered residential address, which is generally provided on most sites as part of the sign-up process. Safeguards are required to make sure registered residential address information is accurate, which will be achieved through a compliance checking measure.
I note the inclusion of a $150 tax-free threshold for this measure, which is consistent with the South Australian model. This is a reasonable inclusion to help reduce the tax burden on small operators while maintaining a consistent rate of taxation for larger companies.
The Greens have led the debate in this place on minimising gambling harm through evidence-based approaches. Mostly this debate is focused on the clear harms that come from poker machines, but we know people can experience gambling harm from a range of gambling products, and wagering is no exception.