It was recently discovered that many of Australia largest poker machine companies have been doing some unusual business in an attempt to reduce the tax payable on their income. It is things like this that remind me of how online pokie sites are able to provide players so much higher payout rates. The costs for running poker machines in pub, clubs and bars in Australia is forever increasing however online gaming site costs are consistently being reduced.
The below article sourced from news.com.au makes light of a number of Australian poker machines operators and some of the strategies they are implementing in an effort to reduce their extremely high running costs.
AUSTRALIA’S biggest pokies operator faces an investigation over claims it has avoided more than $15 million in tax through controversial and secretive arrangements with sports organisations, including several AFL clubs.
In one deal, pokies firm Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) has claimed a lower club tax rate for a gaming venue linked to the North Melbourne Giants – a former NBL basketball club that ceased to exist 11 years ago.
ALH has received a $167,839 tax discount and has claimed $103,912 in community benefit because the gaming area at its Richmond Tavern venue is listed as being operated by the defunct basketball club.
Almost $96,000 of the community benefit were operating and auditing costs.
The North Melbourne Giants Ltd is registered to the same address as ALH and lists the company as its contact in files sent to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission .
After learning that the Richmond Tavern holds a club licence, the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation says it will investigate claims that ALH is exploiting its venues’ club status.
AHL chief executive Ross Blair-Holt said the company complied with all legislation.
A Sunday Herald Sun investigation has found ALH, which is a joint venture between Woolworths and pokies kingpin Bruce Mathieson, has struck deals to operate more than 660 pokies in up to 10 venues registered as clubs.
The deals include arrangements with the Collingwood, Richmond, Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn football clubs.
The deals allow ALH raise its share of played pokies beyond the cap of about 35 per cent of machines each operator is allowed.
Under Victorian gaming law, commercial operators of pokies pubs pay a 33.3 per cent tax on gambling revenue.
Clubs get an 8.3 per cent discount on the pokies tax and pay only 25 per cent to the State Government if they can demonstrate a “community benefit”.
Under the deals, ALH owns most of the venues and leases the pokies area to clubs. It then charges the clubs rent and a management fee to operate the machines.