Gambling is widespread across the world, and it is often heavily taxed. This naturally adds some bitterness to the sweet joy of winning. Australia, however, is true heaven for players, as they are not obliged to pay any taxes at all. Nevertheless, the state government still manages to receive as much as 10% of its revenue from gambling. So who is parting with all that money to keep casino visitors untaxed?
As you may have guessed, the burden is shifted to operators. The exact tax rate and its calculation method vary from state to state depending on the type of gambling. For example, casino profits may be taxed based on net profits or player losses. Casinos and gambling floors with pokies are obliged to pay licensing fees in order to have the machines in the building legally.
So why would the government decide to refrain from taxing players? There are two main considerations justifying such a system.
- In Australia, gambling is not regarded as a profession. It is only perceived as a leisure activity or hobby.
- Winnings are not considered as personal income. Rather, they are viewed as a consequence of pure luck. After all, no matter how much you win, you may still lose even more in your subsequent gambling sessions.
How much is paid
For example, consider the current taxation rules in Queensland. EGMs (Electronic gaming machines) installed in hotels and clubs are linked to 0-35% of the monthly taxable metered win. In casinos, the same EGMs may mean just under a third of monthly gross revenue or a fifth of gross revenue. Table games, on the other hand, are associated with 20% of monthly gross revenue or 10% of gross revenue, depending on the city. Hence, the exact figures vary significantly.
Do players ever pay taxes?
This could happen in cases that are extremely rare. In general, a gambler does not need to claim his winnings as income. In fact, even those who play poker professionally, do not have to. Even though their winnings may be linked to special skills, rather than luck, the government still does not care.
What is taxed here includes endorsements, sponsorships, and similar gains. However, if such a player decided to set up a business, and thus play poker as a sole trader (which is highly unlikely), this is when they may be required to pay taxes.
Hence, although gambling taxation is a complex issue elsewhere, the situation for a player in Australia is quite straightforward. No wonder so many casino enthusiasts now travel to the continent for the excitement of untaxed gambling!