Crown calls for clarification on proposed changes to tax rate for EGMs

Crown says the changes would have cost it between AU$35n and AU$40m in 2019.
Crown says the changes would have cost it between AU$35n and AU$40m in 2019.

Authorities in Victoria want to introduce changes to the current tax rate for electronic gaming machines at Crown Melbourne.

Australia.- Crown Resorts is seeking more information on the Victorian Government’s proposal to change the tax rate for electronic gaming machines (EGMs) at Crown Melbourne.

If the changes are approved, from 1 July 2023, Crown Casino’s EGMs will be subject to the same tax rates as EGMs operated by club venues. The change is expected to generate up to AU$30m per annum in additional revenue for the State. 

Crown says that if the proposed rate was in place in FY2019 (the last full financial year before the Covid-19 pandemic), the impact on earnings would have been between AU$35n and AU$40m.

The Board, however, noted the impact of the proposed changes on future earnings would depend on the final details of the reform and the revenue generated from electronic gaming machines at Crown Melbourne. 

Melissa Horne, the minister for consumer affairs, gaming and liquor regulation said authorities in Victoria are committed to introducing reforms on gambling taxes with a focus on harm minimisation. Horne added that authorities want “to strengthen oversight of Crown and the whole Victorian gambling industry.”

Crown Resorts said it will establish a working group to consider the implications of changes for the company.

A week ago, the Alliance for Gambling Reform called for the introduction of harm reduction measures in Victoria after players lost nearly AU$1bn on slots in the past four months. Player losses in March hit a record AU$257.3m.

Judge Raymond Finkelstein, who led the state of Victoria’s inquiry into Crown Resorts has called for more independent oversight of casinos and restrictions on how much money gamblers can lose.

Australian Greens renew fight to ban gambling machines

The New South Wales Greens party has renewed its call to ban gambling machines in Australia. It believes the country can afford to do without an industry worth AU$3.1bn (US$2.21bn) a year. It wants pokies to be phased out from bars within five years and from other venues within 10 years.

The Greens propose financial support to offset some of the lost revenue. They also want a complete ban on gambling ads on public transport and at sporting events.

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