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Australia – New South Wales Government looking to hike casino taxation

By - 21 December 2022

Casino tax arrangements will be reformed by the NSW Government to help fund vital services and raise an additional $364m over the next three years.

The proposed increases are anticipated to commence on 1 July 2023 and include tax rates on what the casinos earn from gaming tables and poker machines.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the changes will support the State’s fiscal sustainability as it continues to invest in communities recovering from the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19, bushfires and floods.

“It’s important that casinos pay their fair share of tax. These reformed tax rates will replace the existing regime under which casinos pay less tax on poker machines than hotels and clubs,” Mr Kean said. “These changes will ensure that the casinos continue to make an appropriate contribution to the community and support the delivery of vital Government services.”

Mr Kean said casinos provide employment and entertainment for thousands of people across the State and these changes will support their ongoing contribution to the NSW economy.

The updated poker machine rate will bring NSW into line with Victoria, following recent reforms to casino taxation arrangements announced in the 2022-23 Victorian Budget.

The NSW Government, through the Responsible Gambling Fund, is spending $33m in 2022-23 to support people experiencing gambling harm, educating the community on the risks of gambling and investing in research to better understand gambling behaviour. The 2022-23 NSW Budget committed to allocating an additional $5m per year to the Responsible Gambling Fund, increasing in line with inflation.

Casinos have bemoaned the fact that there has been no consultation from the NSW
Government with The Star on this matter and that at this stage, no other details have been made available in relation to the potential reforms (including as to how the taxes would be levied or applied).

The potential impact of these proposed changes, if implemented, will depend on the details of the
proposed reforms and the implications to pre-existing arrangements which apply to The Star’s
operations in Sydney.

The Star’s CEO and Managing Director Robbie Cooke said: “We are not sure how the Government modelled its financials nor the basis for suggesting The Star does not pay its fair share of taxes.
Specifically, in addition to state gaming taxes, The Star also pays millions in corporate taxes, with total
taxes paid as a percentage of The Star’s profits being around 70 per cent, and as high as 80 per cent in the last five years when all the tax regimes are considered.”

The Star is seeking to urgently engage with the NSW Government as to the sustainability of the
proposed tax changes and the impact on The Star’s business as The Star seeks to fast track cashless
gaming and carded play to deliver safer gambling, whilst also continuing on a remediation path to return
to suitability and earn back the trust of the community

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