The New South Wales club gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar business with some of the largest registered clubs in the world operating more poker machines than many casinos – but not subject to the same scrutiny. Their status as ‘mutuals’ allows them to pay little, if any, corporate income tax and low state tax rates on gaming profits.
Casino Clubs NSW describes how big clubs have attained and retained a dominant position in the gaming industry. While recognising the positive role of small mutual clubs, it questions the continuing government support of big clubs through tax and regulatory concessions, and refutes claims that the bulk of gaming profits are spent on community contributions and sports sponsorship.
Casino Clubs NSW presents the story of public campaigns, private lobbying and back-room machinations aimed at blocking a 2003 decision by Premier Bob Carr and Treasurer Michael Egan to increase taxes on the gaming profits of big clubs. Carr and Egan resisted these campaigns but incoming Premier Iemma backed down in order to obtain the support of some disaffected backbenchers. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being lost in state taxes. And the price is rising.
‘An excellent, original piece of academic social science research into a major public policy issue. It is a shame that this was not written ten years ago to provide the evidence to prevent some misguided, self-interested and costly policy decisions taken by successive governments in NSW.’
– Professor Michael Johnson, University of NSW
‘An original contribution to knowledge and to public policy in Australia (and in the sector of gambling studies). It tells a story of policy intrigue and behind the scenes manoeuvring to preserve privileged positions.’
– Professor John Wanna, Australian National University
Betty Con Walker is an economist with experience in private and public sectors, including the New South Wales Premier's department and the New South Wales treasury.
- NSW gaming: big business supported by government
- Activities and performance of the ‘Big 18 Clubs’
- Challenges to NSW clubs in the last decade
- How NSW clubs have retained their privileged position
- Case study part one: the 2003 gaming tax increase and the clubs’ response
- Case study part two: interactions between politicians and clubs
- Case study part three: response of the new Premier – clubs prevail
- Overview and conclusions
Appendix 1: boards of directors of the ‘Big 18 Clubs’, 2005
Appendix 2: list of interviews
Size: 250 × 176 × 13 mm
22 b&w illustrations and 33 b&w tables
Copyright: © 2009
Publication: 13 Oct 2009