INDEPENDENT NEWS

Casino Control Authority Fatally Compromised

Published: Thu 16 Sep 1999 11:23 AM
Casino Control Authority fatally compromised, CEO and Authority members must resign.
Information that Casino Control Authority Members and CEO and their spouses planned overseas trips paid for by levies on individual casino licensees shows the Authority is fatally compromised. The Authority does not have the moral authority to supervise the casino industry.
Phillida Bunkle, the leading parliamentary campaigner for control over the burgeoning casino industry, called today for the replacement of the Authority members and officials who used money from casinos to take themselves and their spouses on such junkets.
It is important that these people be replaced by those who understand that the use of such industry levies paid to statutory regulatory bodies should never be determined in consultation with the industry that the Authority is there to regulate.
Industry funded regulatory bodies are wide open to such abuse. The casinos should pay tax and not levies to the CCA. Tax is controlled by parliament in the public interest and is not open to direct industry influence.
New Zealand casinos pay the lowest tax in the world. They currently pay a mere 4% compared to 80% in most of Europe and over 90% in Germany.
Last year, New Zealand’s two casinos paid only $11 million in duty on a total clear profit of over $254 million.
The total taxation paid including duty, GST and corporate tax was a pathetic $10.7 million from Sky City and $6.9 million from the Christchurch Casino. A paltry contribution on over a quarter of a billion dollars of clear profit, most of which went overseas.
The Alliance will tax the casinos at a realistic rate to pay for the enormous damage the promotion of their activities is costing this community. Last year the casinos paid a trifling $0.57 million to problem gambling treatment, despite the fact that 27% of all problem gamblers had casinos as their major source of addiction.
It is completely unacceptable that the industry pays levies which can be used for junkets by the very people who should be regulating the industry in the public interest.
The Alliance will make sure that the public interest and community views are paramount.
Last year, the casinos distributed $0.6 million to the community but used this to promote their destructive proliferation. The CCA has never rejected a licence application from a casino and has now been compromised by accepting these trips.
The CCA has seen the number of casinos, even under a moratorium, burgeon in its latest term from two to five.

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