INDEPENDENT NEWS

Govt stacks the deck on gaming reform

Published: Thu 18 Oct 2001 05:26 PM
Lindsay Tisch National Gaming Industry Spokesperson
18 October 2001
Govt stacks the deck on gaming reform
National's Gaming Industry spokesperson Lindsay Tisch says the Government is hiding cards under the table with its decisions on gaming reform.
"After strong pressure from National and community organisations the Government has dropped its plans for a 'Community Purposes Tax' on pokie machines. But National understands that in its place the Government is going to increase the gaming machine duty to 24 percent. This is nothing short of a tax grab of $25-$30 million which will be taken from charities to fill the Government's rapidly emptying coffers.
"Mr Hawkins has dealt a bad hand to the many sports clubs and charity organisations which rely on funding from the gaming industry. Fobbing these groups off by saying the increase in duty is an issue for the Minister of Finance is not good enough. Increasing the gaming machine duty to loot up to $30 million from the pool of funding that is distributed to charity will have a huge impact on the activities of many sports and charitable groups.
"Mr Hawkins' proposal to subsume the Casino Control Authority into the Department of Internal Affairs has political interference written all over it. In 1989 the Authority was intentionally established as an independent organisation so there would be no political interference in the operation of casinos. Today's decision will give the Minister far more power over the industry.
"The one legitimate change is the increase in problem gambling levies providing this money goes directly into treating gambling addiction. The addiction treatment and problem gambling education programmes should be funded at source and that's where Government looting from the industry should end," Mr Tisch said.
Ends

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