By Ian Neubauer
Sydney’s Rooty Hill RSL has rejected media reports it is suffering financial distress as a result of the effect of smoking bans on gaming revenue.
“Recent media coverage implied Rooty Hill RSL is suffering and may have sought exemption from state gaming taxes because smoking bans have impacted on revenues. This is not the case,” said Rooty Hill RSL chief executive, Richard Errington.
“Rooty Hill RSL is in a strong profit position and has not sought any extension to payment or exemption from gaming taxes,” he said.
Errington said the club has responded to changing demands through a cultural and strategic about face that will see the launch of a $5.5 million fitness centre in May. Diversified services and the introduction of new member benefits have also been implemented in wake of smoking bans.
A recent report in The Daily Telegraph said more than 150 registered clubs in NSW have sought exemptions from gaming tax amid claims that smoking bans are having a detrimental effect on profitability.
Clubs NSW chief executive, David Costello, told the newspaper smoking bans were the equal of any challenge the club industry has ever faced.
“With falls in revenue of as much as 40 per cent, the coming months will see some clubs unable to pay wages as well as meet tax responsibilities,” Costello said.
“I have approached the Government, proposing that the tax bills of the worst affected clubs be deferred to allow them to continue trading,” he said.