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Tax casinos on the same basis as racing industry

Jim Anderton Alliance leader Jim Anderton says casinos should be taxed on the same basis as the racing industry...and he says the extra $140 million in revenue raised would be roughly enough to make prescriptions free for everyone.At present casinos pay tax on net winnings (stake less winnings) of 4% plus GST.

The racing industry pays 4% tax on turnover.

Putting casinos on the same basis as the racing industry would mean imposing an equivalent tax.'Casinos should pay tax at least on the same basis as the racing indust ry.

Racing is a very important industry for New Zealand, whereas the evidence is rapidly emerging that casinos are causing great social and economic distress,' Jim Anderton says.'Anyone who watched last week's TV One Assignment documentary last week would be deeply concerned about the growth of casinos and the effects they are having.

They should at least be paying their fair share of taxes imposed on gambling in New Zealand.'According to figures obtained from Internal! Affairs, the racing industry turns over just over $1 billion ($1.05 billion last year) and lotteries $639 million.

It's estimated that casinos turnover around $4 billion, and gaming machines $2.4 billion, although recycled winnings account for a substantial share of that.Yet, out of $150 million in gaming duty collected annually, about $55 million is contributed by the TAB, another $55 million from lotteries, $30 million from gaming machines and only $10 million from casinos.'On this basis casinos are no t paying their fair share.

That threatens the viability of the racing industry, which at least has more positive social and economic advantages for the country in providing jobs and export earnings.

'If casinos were taxed at a fair rate, then the revenue could be used for essential social services, such as making medicine free and the Government wouldn't have to increase personal income tax rates to do it.

It seems logical to level the playing field for the racing indust! ry and raise the money for much-needed priorities.'Jim An! derton said gambling is generally taxed at a lower rate in New Zealand than in many other countries.France taxes gross winnings at 80%.

German gambling taxes range between 80 and 93%. Spain takes 54% of gross winnings in tax. In Australia, gambling taxes range from 21% to 26%.

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