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Australian State Government Accused of Underplaying Gambling Taxes

24 April 2002

VICTORIA , Australia – As reported by the (Victoria, Australia) Herald Sun: "The Bracks Government's annual haul from poker machine taxes has surged past $1 billion.

"Since the introduction of pokies in Victoria in 1991, the State Government has earned a staggering $5.2 billion (US$2.8 billion) in gaming taxes.

"A scathing new report claims last year's Victorian Budget papers underplayed the pokies tax take by $215 million (US$117 million).

"The grand total, including GST payback on gaming machine revenue, was a massive $1.016 billion (US$552 million).

"State gambling taxes, which come mainly from 27,500 poker machines in pubs and clubs, now account for one fifth of tax revenue.

"…According to the report, last year's Budget papers suggested gambling taxes had fallen 19 per cent, while pokies taxes were down $131 million (US$71 million).

"But after adding gambling GST returned by the Federal Government, the report found state gambling tax -- including racing and lotteries -- was $1.647 billion (US$895 million), up 8 per cent.

"…[The Interchurch Gambling] Taskforce members accused the Bracks Government of fudging last year's figures…"

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