By David Fisher-The Daily Telegraph (NSW Metropolitan, 18
THE state Budget is facing a $137 million black hole after latest figures
revealed clubs and pubs have experienced a dramatic reduction in revenue
increases from poker machines.
Latest figures show new smoking bans in pubs and clubs are having an
impact and that higher petrol prices are eating into people's disposable
incomes - reducing their gambling.
The Government relies heavily on tax from poker machines - picking up more
than $1.3 billion from pubs and clubs in the past financial year - revenue
Premier Morris Iemma said was crucial to fund hospitals, schools and
Government revenue from pokies has increased significantly every year
since they were allowed into pubs, going from $696 million in 1997-1998 to
$1.32 billion last financial year.
In the year to the end of December 2004, the revenue increase from poker
machines for pubs was 7.7 per cent - but latest figures show that figure
dropped to 2.7 per cent last year.
For clubs, the revenue increase for 2004 was 5.3 per cent but that figure
dropped to 2.3 per cent last year.
This means the Government will receive $137 million less than it would
have had increases in poker machine revenue continued at the 2004 rate.
The development comes after the Government agreed to reduce clubs' total
pokies tax by $400 million over seven years.
ClubsNSW spokesman Jeremy Bath said smoking bans were just part of
problem: "The most significant factor has been the increase in the price of
"Last year there was also an interest rate increase. That, combined with
the rate increase of earlier this month, will further reduce disposable
He said the smoking ban was a factor.
"Many clubs are now starting to feel the impact of the smoking ban. It is
clear some smokers take exception to being herded into a corner or
"The full impact won't be felt until after the full ban starts in July
Opposition finance spokeswoman Peta Seaton said: "Labor has taxed clubs
and families to death. The Iemma Government has already spent the money -
so this shortfall will push NSW deeper in deficit." | End