NSW Treasurer Defers Tax Hikes for Casinos Citing….

June 21, 2023 | Tax

Lack of Engagement by Previous Government – ABC

SYDNEY, NSW (June 20, 2023) — Earlier on Tuesday, it was revealed a tax hike for Sydney’s casinos due to come into effect on July 1, has been deferred until August.

Last year the previous state government announced plans to increase duty rates at The Crown and The Star in a move projected to raise $364 million over three years.

The announcement caused Star Entertainment’s share price to plummet and contributed to what CEO Robbie Cooke called an “issues rich” situation for the beleaguered casino giant.

Speaking on ABC Radio Sydney this morning, NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said despite the Perrottet government budgeting for the new rates, they remained unlegislated.

He said the delay was necessary because his predecessors had failed to liaise with the casinos about the changes.

“At no point did they engage with the particular businesses that were affected by it,” he said.

“These businesses are having to reform their business model so they are completely compliant with the law.”

Mr Mookhey said since becoming treasurer he had met with the casino leadership teams.

“They have a hard job ahead of them in terms of recovering their social licence… We’re in discussions with them about how we go about implementing these arrangements in a way in which we can see whether or not we can minimise its impact on jobs.”

The Star Entertainment Group has welcomed the decision, saying the former government’s proposed tax increases were unsustainable and “flawed in their design”.

“This proposed duty increase was policy on the run by the former Treasurer, was ill-conceived with no consultation and had no regard to the capacity of our Sydney operation to afford the impost,” The Star CEO and managing director Robbie Cook said in a statement to the ASX.

In a statement, a Crown Resorts spokesperson said it “continues to engage” with the NSW government on the proposed changes to the casino tax.

‘Not surprised, but disappointed’

Gambling researcher Charles Livingstone from Monash University described the deferral as “a strange move” given the state’s precarious financial situation.

“Particularly to favour a casino which has just been disgraced in the most public possible way,” he added.

Mr Livingstone said he believed the casino bosses were overstating the risk in order to maintain an advantage over other gambling venues.

Prominent anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello said he was “not surprised but disappointed” at the NSW government’s decision to delay the tax hike.

“[I’m] disappointed for the taxpayers of New South Wales, they deserve better,” Mr Costello said.

“It says that they are beholden as a government to whatever duties and debts they owe to the gambling industry because the finances demand this increase.”

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SOURCE: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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