A number of changes were recently made to the operation of Melbourne's Crown casino, including the introduction of new levies and taxes.
The changes followed legislative amendments to the Casino Control Act 1991 and the Casino (Management Agreement) Act 1993, which were included in the Casino and Gambling Legislation Amendment Act 2014, as well as amendments to the Melbourne Casino Licence being approved by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).
The changes include:
- the proposed annual levy of $5,500 on each poker machine in 2013-14 and $22,715 per machine from 2014–2015 will not go ahead
- Crown will now make lump sum payments of $250 million in 2014 and another $250 million in 2033
- additional payments will also be required in 2022 if gaming revenue grows by more than 4 per cent in that time
- Crown has been granted a 17-year extension of its license (from 2033 to 2050)
- Crown has been given permission to operate 40 more table games, 50 more fully automated table games (sometimes known as multi-terminal gambling machines) and 128 more poker machines
- the new poker machines will be purchased from venues not using them, thus there will no net increase in the number of machines in Victoria
- a guaranteed minimum of $35 million per year in taxes, generated by the new table games and poker machines, will be paid by Crown.
- Super (or VIP) tax: Previously, Crown has paid tax on international and interstate VIP losses on a sliding scale starting at 10 per cent. The super tax on commission-based play for international and interstate VIP players has been removed to ensure Crown remains competitive with other casinos in Australia and internationally.
- Compensation to Crown for future changes: The Casino and Gambling Legislation Amendment Act 2014 also contains a compensatory scheme. Compensation will be payable by the Victorian government to Crown Melbourne if the government amends the prohibition on smoking for VIP areas at Crown or if Crown's earnings are adversely impacted by a reduction in maximum bets, an amendment in the operation of ATM machines, the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment or an amendment to the operation of a permitted loyalty scheme unless all Australian states and territories implement the same change. Compensation is capped at $200 million and will be adjusted for inflation.
Read Crown's media release of 22 August 2014, which has a copy of the announcement made by the Victorian government attached.
Current taxes paid by Crown – The VCGLR reported that Crown paid the state of Victoria $207.7 million in gambling taxes in 2013–2014.