Myth 3 is that NSW is overly dependent on gambling income. However, over the last 20 years, total tax revenues have increased by almost 200%, while overall gambling income has increased by 105% and income from club games has only increased by 60%. In 2022, gambling income will be 6.3% of his tax revenue, down from 9.1% in 2002. It was 2.4% of total revenue last year, down from 3.6% two decades ago. Taxes from clubs have grown from 1.2% in 2002 to just 0.6% of gross income in 2022.
Gambling revenues have increased over time, while other tax revenues have increased at a faster rate. It contradicts the belief that we are increasingly dependent.
Myth #4 is that clubs are primary employers and should receive special treatment. ClubsNSW, using 2015 data, admits the club only employs his 28,427 full-time staff. But even this is too much. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, in 2022 the club employed just 25,040 people (12,131 full-time and 12,909 part-time), for a total of 17,385 FTEs. That’s 0.4% of all jobs in NSW.
Myth #5 is ClubsNSW’s claim that clubs provide over $100 million in cash each year for their communities under ClubGRANTS. Under this scheme, clubs receive tax rebates when making community contributions. This method has been found to have many drawbacks, which are described elsewhere. Details about the participating clubs and the value of the scheme have not been made public.
Based on five years of unpublished historical data provided by the Old Liquor, Gambling and Horse Racing Authority, the club’s endowment could be close to $70 million a year. Of this, 20% of the donation (or more if the club applies for a waiver) may be “in kind” and $40 million will be returned to the club as a tax refund.
This means that cash donations are only $16 million annually, or 0.5% of the game’s profits. Even the $100 million figure could mean just $23 million, or just 0.7% of the profit on his gaming machine. Only the latest government data can provide confirmation.
The large clubs have moved far from their origins and are now more like casinos. This is a huge burden for taxpayers. Now is the time to end this and put the public good first through higher taxes on the public treasury.
Dr Betty Con Walker is an economist and former employee of the NSW Treasury Department, casino club new south wales (Sydney University Press). In the early 2000s, she invested in and advised the hotel industry.
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