Gambling Companies Won’t Get Relief in Queensland Tax Hike

Queensland is unlikely to show leniency in the way it taxes resources and gambling companies in the state. BHP chief executive, Mike Henry, cautioned that the mining giant may need to temporarily pause its plans to launch the Blackwater South coalmine as a newly proposed tax regime may undermine its feasibility. This, though, has not swayed lawmakers and officials who are determined to press on with a plan taxing regime that will seek to boost revenue to the state’s coffers.

No Sympathy for the Devil

However, Henry believes that the changes in the tax levy are not really based on evidence or a better understanding of the mining industry, as Queensland plans to increase royalties. But mining just like the gambling industry is not very likely to win the public trust or sympathy.

According to John Quiggin, a laureate fellow in economics at the University of Queensland, both industries have been enjoying a lax taxation system. On the one hand, the mining industry has been enjoying increasingly good yields whereas much of the gambling industry’s success has mostly depended on the government turning a blind eye as recent investigations into Crown Resorts and the Star Entertainment Group have indicated.

But this is about to change, Quiggin told the Guardian. Local gambling hawks are also calling for taxing the industry more. Alliance for Gambling Reform advocate Tim Costello said that it was not at all surprising to see gambling companies oppose an increase in royalties, adding:

We’ve been very blind to the political muscle and state capture by gambling interests here in Australia.

Alliance for Gambling Reform advocate Tim Costello

Costello warned that many of these gambling companies have not used the money they have amassed to sway politics and get sympathetic ears within the government. Costello, though, is confident that the new levies – passed without opposition in parliament – are designed to simply ensure that everyone pays their dues. However, the new royalties, some within the gambling and resources industries argue, are “astronomical” making it hard to adapt to these new realities.

Pressure on Gambling Industry Mounts

The increase in gambling tax comes at a time when one of Australia’s biggest gambling companies, the Star Entertainment Group, is facing serious trouble at home. Earlier this week, Queensland launched a probe into the gambling company, discovering that high-risk gamblers may have been targeted by the company.  Queensland has also been particularly susceptible to gambling losses over the years with the state’s players losing $301.8 million in July alone.

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