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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 4222 ..


Mr Speaker, I am introducing to members the Casino Control (Amendment) Bill 1996.

The Casino Control Act 1988 provides for the establishment and control of a casino in the Territory.

The operator of Casino Canberra, Casinos Austria International Limited proposes to expand its business opportunities by marketing Casino Canberra to individual high stake players. High stake players choose to visit a casino as an individual and are prepared to gamble substantial sums of money which will entitle them to receive commissions or rebates. These players are currently not catered for in the ACT.

Casinos Austria proposes to offer individual high stake players direct concessions to attract their patronage to Casino Canberra. These players enjoy the opportunity to play at more than one destination. Casinos Austria proposes as a marketing strategy offering incentives including airfares, accommodation and commissions to individual high stake players travelling between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to secure their patronage at Casino Canberra.

Under the Casino Control (Amendment) Act 1994, Casino Canberra commenced junket operations for groups managed by a junket operator in June 1995. Junkets are groups of high stake players who are brought to a casino by a junket operator. The operator is paid a commission by the casino licensee based on the sum of the wagers.

Casino Canberra generated $954,812 in tax receipts at the ten per cent junket tax rate over a seven month period of junket operations until January 1996. However, junket operations ceased in February 1996 due to increased competition between interstate casinos which made it more difficult to attract players to Canberra.

Casino Canberra currently pays tax on gross profits for general gaming at twenty per cent. It is seeking the continuation of the lower tax rate on the profits for junket gaming at ten per cent beyond the current sunset clause which comes into effect on l January 1997.

The casino has also sought the lower tax rate of ten per cent on the gaming profits from individual high stake players. The lower taxation rate will reduce the casino's costs and allow it to offer concessions to individual high stake players.

Taxation rates on gaming profits vary from State to State. From twenty per cent on general gaming profit in Sydney and Queensland at Jupiters and Brisbane to eight per cent in Christmas Island and in the Northern Territory for taxation of profits generated at gaming tables.

Victoria has regulated a separate junket tax at a lower rate of nine per cent plus a one per cent community benefit levy. Queensland is proposing a ten per cent junket tax in Jupiters and Brisbane and an eight per cent junket tax in Cairns and Townsville.

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