Tuesday 29. March, 2016

Crown Fights Victorian Gambling Regulator Over Poker Taxes

Melbourne’s Crown Casino has been locked into a three-year battle with the Victorian Gambling Commission over whether they need to pay taxes on commissions earned on entry fees to poker tournaments run at the casino. The commissions are typically ten percent of the entry fee to the tournament.

The casino has argued that poker tournament commissions should not be taxed and that these fees are used to fund the prize pool for the event and the marketing costs for the tournament.

“Poker tournaments are not considered to be equivalent to other forms of casino gambling as the player does not play against the house; the player plays against other players,” stated a spokesperson for the casino.

In addition, the casino has argued that pubs and clubs that run poker tournaments are not required to pay taxes on the fees they charge.

The gambling regulator and Crown have been in discussion over this issue for years and the Andrews government is also considering the outcome. Neither the commission nor Crown would specify how much the casino collects in fees for poker tournaments each year. However, the Aussie Millions Poker Championship is a significant drawcard for the casino of poker players from around the world and it offers prize pools of millions of dollars.

Poker tournament taxes have been an issue since 2013 when the fifth review of the casino’s operator license highlighted the conflict over poker tournament taxes and reported on the “ongoing issue relating to whether entry fees for poker tournaments should be included in the calculation of gross gaming revenue.”

Public health professor Charles Livingstone from Monash University disagrees with Crown and has stated that poker is a form of gambling and should be taxed in the same way as other gambling activity is taxed.

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