PUBS and clubs in South Australia will be hit with a 65per cent “Robin Hood” tax on their earnings from pokie machines and other gaming activities, after the state’s Budget yesterday imposed the nation’s highest marginal tax rate for gambling.
Delivering the state’s first Labor Budget in nine years, Treasurer Kevin Foley declared an attack on the “super profits” collected by pubs and clubs that earn more than $2.5million a year in net gaming revenue.
Once they hit the $2.5 million mark, pubs will pay 65 per cent of their net earnings in tax, while clubs will pay 55 per cent. More than 90 venues in South Australia will fall into the top “super profit” bracket.
But smaller pubs and clubs could benefit from the new regime, with a new tax-free threshhold of $75,000 set, which is expected to benefit nearly 370 pubs and clubs — 246 of them in the bush. The new threshhold means small operators will pay no, or reduced, gaming taxes. Rates for Adelaide’s casino have not been adjusted.
Nearly half the net gaming revenue in South Australia passes through just 13 per cent of venues and the two largest pokie venues in the state earned $5.6 million and $5.4 million before tax in 2001.
The regime is expected to deliver an extra $34 million to the state this financial year.
Government figures estimate South Australia’s and Victoria’s average hotel UFA gaming tax in 2002-03 at 41 per cent, with 37 per cent in Queensland and 24 per cent in NSW.
The new tax rate was attacked by the hotel industry as a recipe for job losses and bankruptcies.
But Norwood Football Club general manager David Wark welcomed the new tax regime for small and …