Govt allows Crown to boost gaming tables - Wednesday 9th of December 2009

Legislation allowing Crown Casino to install 150 more gaming tables is set to pass this week after the Victorian government agreed to key concessions.

Crown is set to increase its gaming tables from 350 to 500 in exchange for paying more tax on its poker machines.

The government announced the deal in May but the opposition had threatened to block the legislation in parliament.

The coalition will now pass the legislation after the government announced on Monday it would agree to key concessions.

They include boosting problem gambling advertising by $1.5 million, $2.1 million extra for problem gambling research and $1.5 million for the Community Advocate on Gambling.

An extra 20 trainers will be employed to teach gaming venue staff about the warning signs of problem gambling, more harm minimisation features will be developed on fully automated table games at the Melbourne casino and training standards will apply to staff working around them.

Under the new agreement, Crowns tax rates on its 2,500 poker machines will rise from 25 per cent to 32 per cent of players gaming losses.

Gaming Minister Tony Robinson welcomed the oppositions support and said the deal would mean Crown would pay taxes at a rate close to what the government charges other venues.

"More closely aligning the tax paid by Crown on its pokie revenue will raise more than $100 million over the next four years for Victorian hospitals and health services," he said in a statement.

"This bill will end an historical anomaly where Crown paid a lower tax rate than other gaming venues in Victoria."

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