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Australian casino companies hit with tax hike

17 April 2007

VICTORIA, Australia – As reported by the Australia Age: "Victoria's gaming giants have been stung by a 43 per cent poker machine tax increase under a State Government plan to boost public hospital funding by $39 million a year.

"Two weeks before the state budget, Treasurer John Brumby yesterday announced plans to lift the hospital levy imposed on each of Victoria's 30,000 slot machines to $4333 from the current $3033.

"The move means that from July 1, the levy will claw back $130 million a year from the industry for public hospital equipment and renovations, compared with $91 million at present.

"Mr Brumby said the increase would redirect to the public a fairer share of the abnormally large monopoly profits earned by the industry. He promised there would be no further increases in the current political term.

"…The announcement angered Tattersalls and Tabcorp.

"…Tattersalls boss Dick McIlwain warned that the Government risked devaluing its gaming licences with its decision.

"…Tabcorp's acting chief executive, Elmer Funke Kupper, said his shareholders would suffer as the industry braces for the effects of the scheduled implementation in July of complete smoking bans…"

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