Australia: Star Entertainment CEO claims they were not consulted by NSW government on proposed tax hike

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The Star Entertainment Group has issued a statement in response to the proposed tax hike on casinos by the New South Wales (NSW) government, claiming that “there has been no consultation from the NSW Government with the Star on this matter.”

The possible effects of the revisions, according to the document, “will depend on the details of the proposed reforms and the implications to pre-existing arrangements which apply to The Star’s operations in Sydney.”

“We are not sure how the Government modeled its financials nor the basis for suggesting the Star does not pay its fair share of taxes. Specifically, in addition to state gaming taxes, the Star also pays millions in corporate taxes, with total taxes paid as a percentage of the Star’s profits being around 70%, and as high as 80% in the last 5 years when all the tax regimes are considered,” said Robbie Cooke, CEO of Star, as quoted by Asia Gaming Brief.

According to the organization, as part of its ongoing “remediation path to return to suitability,” the company is “seeking to urgently engage with the NSW Government” regarding the impact on its operations.

The Sydney division of Star has recently been handed a record fine of AUD 100 million for breaking anti-money laundering laws. The casino is now working under an independently appointed manager appointed by the authorities.

The proposal to increase tax on casinos in New South Wales (NSW) was suggested by treasurer Matt Kean and will take effect from July 1, 2023. An increase of around AUD 364 million in total is anticipated across the three-year collection.

The report states that the suggested tax increases will “help the state’s fiscal sustainability as it continues to assist in communities rebuilding from the unprecedented consequences of COVID-19, bushfires, and floods.”