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Australian companies expect to be hurt by new ban

11 June 2007

AUSTRALIA -- As reported by the Australia Age: "When the Victorian Government introduced smoking bans in gaming rooms across the state in September 2002, Tabcorp was caught unawares.

"...The bans eroded the state's electronic gaming machine revenues, slashing them from $2.56 billion in fiscal 2002 to $2.33 billion in the 2003 financial year. Tabcorp saw its gaming revenue fall 13 per cent in the second half of the year compared with the previous corresponding period.

"Five years later, just as the gambling companies are recovering from the impact of those bans — Victorian electronic gaming machine revenue is forecast this year to touch pre-ban levels for the first time — new restrictions, due to come into effect from July 1, are causing new headaches.

"...The 2002 bans meant that gamblers had to leave the gaming floors to smoke, pushing them to the bar or another area of the venue for a puff. But this time, gamblers will be forced out of the hotels and into the cold, with smoking to be banned from all areas inside licensed venues..."

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