Australian State to Take Half of Net Gambling Profits

The Australian state of Victoria is expected to release legislation this week that would regulate Internet gambling operations and place a 50 percent tax on their profits.

This tax ratio would bring it into line with similar regulation regimes in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, but leave it behind the Northern Territory, which is currently unregulated but which hosts Australia’s first online casino, Lassiter’s.

The legal framework for Australia’s online gaming industry had been expected to evolve differently to the way it has in other jurisdictions, being more open than US laws, but the widely leaked nature of the new bill is drawing fire for dampening opportunities for the young industry.

The major online gambling operators in Victoria are not expected to be small startup companies, however.

The three companies which already dominate gambling revenues in the state are expected to translate their expertise to the Web as well: Crown Casino, which runs the only licensed casino in the state; Tabcorp, which controls betting on racing and other sporting events; and Tattersalls, which operates lotteries and scratch tickets.

These three are the only licensed operators of slot or poker machines, known as “pokies”, in the state.

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