New Queensland Gambling Laws Affect Bonuses

New Queensland gambling laws see operators paying take on bonuses and free bets, and they could completely reshape the industry in the state.

Residents of Queensland who frequent online casinos or bet on sports are bracing themselves for vastly reduced bonuses and promotions. This is after new Queensland gambling laws came into effect last week. The Queensland government is attempting to prop up the horse racing industry and has targeted online gambling companies.

Free bets, free spins, and bonuses are now taxable under the new Queensland gambling laws. Previously, an operator only paid tax on customers’ deposits. However, tax is now payable on both the deposit and the bonus offered, and at a rate of 20%. For example, Casino A has a reputation for the best online casino bonuses, and usually awards $100,000 in bonuses annually. Casino A would pay no tax under the old system, but the new Queensland gambling laws result in a $20,000 tax charge. Although the operator is on the hook for the new tax, the customer ultimately suffers.

Nicholas Carah, Director of Digital Cultures at the University of Queensland, believes this new tax is damaging to operators.

“These kinds of offers are a really crucial part of the marketing machinery of betting companies because they want to get people gambling. Like some incentive to say, ‘This isn’t going to cost me anything; I’m going to bet 50 bucks for free’. It’s that last little bit of sales promotion that activates the consumer.”

What Do New Queensland Gambling Laws Mean For Customers?

Queensland residents are still able to play at casinos and gamble at sportsbooks. However, operators are now on the hook for addition tax, and those costs are almost always passed onto the end user. The new Queensland gambling laws make Queensland customers less attractive. Indeed, some of the lower-stakes players could end up being a loss maker for operators.

Tax rates increased from 15% to 20%, which is not an insignificant rise. In addition, paying 20% tax on all bonuses and promotions further eats into operators’ profits. Therefore, it is extremely likely Queensland residents will find themselves ineligible for welcome and reload bonuses. Furthermore, Queensland sports bettors are likely to see reduced odds on sporting events as operators attempt recouping losses.

Limiting certain demographics’ promos and bonuses is nothing new. Users of e-wallets Skrill and NETELLER, two popular casino deposit methods, are often excluded from bonuses. This is due to the charges operators incur from allowing these deposit methods. Most online casinos are probably unaffected by the new Queensland gambling laws. Yet it is important to go through the bonus terms and conditions with a fine-toothed comb, otherwise, you may discover some unwelcome rules hidden in them.

Operators pulling out of Queensland is unlikely because the state is a big money maker for everyone involved. However, restrictions are all but guaranteed, hurting the bottom line of recreational and professional gamblers. However, do not be surprised if Queensland-based races are suddenly unavailable if you reside in the Sunshine State.

Why The Change in the Law?

Rumours of changes to the Queensland gambling laws have circulated for several months. Ultimately, the increases in tax are designed to assist the state’s racing industry. In addition to charging 20% tax on gambling revenue, Queensland is giving the racing industry 80% of revenue raised, up from 35%. This results in an extra $31 million of prize money across horse, greyhounds, and harness racing in 2023.

Horse racing benefits the most, with $17 million extra added to its races. No Saturday metropolitan thoroughbred race will have less than $85,000 in prize money in Queensland. This is an increase from $75,000. In addition, black-type premium races now award no less than $160,000 per race.

Greyhound racing is receiving $5.4 million more, which is a huge boost for the industry. The extra prizemoney is mostly for longer distance races. For example, a 710-meter open grade race at Albion Park sees its prize money boosted to $15,100 from $10,600. Group 1 races see prize pools increased to a minimum of $150,000.