Casino Clubs NSW: Profits, tax, sport and politics
Betty Con Walker
Sydney University Press
The NSW club gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar business with some of the largest registered clubs in the world operating more poker machines than many casinos - but not subject to the same scrutiny. Their status as 'mutuals' allows them to pay little if any corporate income tax and low state tax rates on gaming profits.
Casino Clubs NSW describes how big clubs have attained and retained a dominant position in the gaming industry. While recognising the positive role of small mutual clubs, it questions the continuing government support to big clubs through tax and regulatory concessions and it refutes claims that the bulk of gaming profits is spent on community contributions and sport sponsorship.
Casino Clubs NSW presents the story of public campaigns, private lobbying and back-room machinations aimed at blocking a 2003 decision by Premier Bob Carr and Treasurer Michael Egan to increase taxes on the gaming profits of big clubs. Carr and Egan resisted that campaign but incoming Premier Iemma backed down in order to obtain the support of some disaffected backbenchers. The price for the premiership has been a loss in state taxes of hundreds of millions of dollars - and rising.