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Australian Clubs Threatened by Pokie Taxes

29 July 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Rugby league's joint ventures will break apart and most Sydney clubs will vacate the national competition if proposed increases in poker machine taxes are introduced, according to top officials.

“St George has confirmed it may sever ties with Illawarra, and most licensed clubs admit they will not be able to fund their football clubs.

“The threat to the future viability of century-old clubs comes through an announcement by the NSW Treasurer, Michael Egan, that gaming revenue tax on licensed clubs will increase from 26.5 per cent to 40 per cent over the next seven years.

“…The general manager of St George Leagues Club, Danny Robinson, said: `If this tax scale stays in place, it will put rugby league in Wollongong in jeopardy.

“`The Steelers Leagues Club will be unable to pay its share, which would allow St George to reconsider the way in which home games are shared between Oki Jubilee Oval and WIN Stadium.’

“…Robinson insisted the proposed increase in taxes was not an excuse to sever ties with Illawarra, because the Dragons need Wollongong juniors.

“…Balmain Leagues club, with Star City casino nearby, operates on a narrow profit margin and will be unlikely to find the additional $1.5m in tax expected after July 1 next year.

“…Club bosses are incensed the tax is on revenue, not profit, and is being sold to the public as funding for health…”

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