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Star Entertainment has struck a deal with the NSW government to save around 3,000 jobs at the company’s struggling Sydney casino.
The agreement revolves around a reduction of pokies taxes and new legislation that will protect casino staff positions for the next six years.
It comes after a period of financial and regulatory turmoil for The Star and its rival casino, Crown Sydney.
Both venues were subject to unprecedented sanctions last year as a result of inquiries into operational failings with regards to responsible gambling protocols and the monitoring of criminal activity on their gaming floors.
Those issues coincided with the introduction of a new gambling tax scheme that would significantly increase the levy on casino and pokies revenue.
Under that arrangement, which was brought in by the previous Coalition government, taxes on the best-performing pokies machines at The Star would gradually rise to just over 60 percent by 2030.
According to the new deal, both Sydney casinos will pay an increased levy on table games, backdated to July this year.
The Star’s pokies duties will run at 20.91 percent until June 30 next year, rising to 22.91 percent from 2027 until 2030.
After that, the casino will pay a 51.6 percent tax on its most profitable pokies games.
NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey claimed the new deal was a necessary correction to the gambling policies laid out by Dominic Perrottet’s administration.
“The previous government had bungled their casinos policy,” he said on Tuesday.
“These arrangements will see both casinos pay higher taxes.”
The news has met with criticism from the opposition, with MP Kevin Anderson — the former NSW Minister for Hospitality and Racing — accusing Labor of cozying up to the gambling industry and toning down essential reforms.
“While the opposition will always welcome saving jobs, this new agreement is largely letting these big enterprises off the hook by allowing them to operate under a pay-as-you-can approach,” he said.
“The former Liberal and Nationals government fully supported the recommendations of the Bell and Bergin inquiries into operations at the Crown and the Star, to introduce additional measures to strengthen compliance requirements including serious penalties.
“The previous government forced both casinos to implement a considerable reform agenda and as a result set up the platform for them to continue to operate.”