By Andrew Starke
The Victorian Opposition has accused the State’s Brumby Government of being addicted to gambling revenue after the release of the 2010 Victorian Budget.
The 2009 Budget and forward estimates forecast gambling taxation revenue of $6.9 billion, while the 2010 Budget and forward estimates forecast gambling taxation revenue of $7.4 billion – a $500 million increase.
The Opposition said that, by refusing to set out forecasts for different types of gambling revenue across the forward estimates, the Brumby Government is keeping Victorians in the dark as to where the ‘tax grab’ is coming from.
However, it would appear that the bulk of the revenue grab is coming from gaming machines.
“In 2008 John Brumby told the Parliament that as a result of his gaming machine changes to take effect in 2012 ‘in aggregate terms the total amount of tax taken by the government will be around the same in real terms’,” Shadow Minister for Gaming Michael O’Brien said.
“John Brumby needs to come clean on where his $500 million gambling tax windfall is coming from.
“The casino tax changes were factored into last year’s Budget, lottery revenue has been relatively flat and racing tax revenue will fall in the future as part of compensation arrangements for the racing industry’s loss of gaming revenue.
“So unless the Premier is expecting a $500 million bingo bonanza, it seems that the government is banking on a massive boost in pokies tax revenue, despite his promise this would not happen,” O’Brien said.
The Opposition further accused the Government of hiding the sale price of more than 8700 gaming machine entitlements already allocated to clubs.
“The Brumby Government has sold 8,712 gaming machine entitlements to clubs and it knows how much it will receive, but has refused to disclose this in the Budget papers,” he said.
“It is outrageous for the Premier to treat Victorian gaming machine entitlements as the personal property of the Labor Party for its re-election campaign.”