Crown Casino has been locked in a three-year battle with Victoria’s gambling regulator on whether commissions earned on entry fees to popular poker tournaments should be taxed.
Crown doesn’t think so. A spokesperson for Crown said the entry fees “meet the costs of conducting and marketing the tournament. Poker tournaments are also conducted in pubs and clubs and they pay no gambling tax on poker tournament fees.”
The commissions are usually about 10 per cent of the entry fee to poker tournaments.
Poker has been a big draw card for Crown, particularly its Aussie Millions Poker Championship held every January, that has a prize pool of millions of dollars.
The Crown spokesperson went on to say “poker tournaments are not considered to be equivalent to other forms of casino gambling as the player does not play against the house, the player plays against other players”.
The Andrews government said it was considering the issue, however neither Crown or the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation would say how much Crown collects a year in poker tournament fees.
Monash University public health professor Charles Livingstone said poker is gambling and its revenue is gambling and should be taxed, just like other forms of gambling at the casino are taxed.
“It’s not a charity,” he said.
“If the regulator thinks they should pay tax on it they should pay tax and if they don’t pay tax you should prosecute them,” Dr Livingstone said. “Crown is too big to regulate, they get whatever they want.”