Apparently the smoking ban in New South Wales is turning away more casino business than the government anticipated, leading to a shortfall of tax revenue:
Clubs alone have lost about $400 million in revenue over the last 12 months, largely because of drops in poker machine revenue.
Comparisons between budget statements 2007-08 and 2008-09 reveal Treasury estimated they would receive $1061 million in pokie taxes, but instead received $1006 million – a shortfall of $55 million.
The latest budget shows that Treasury does not expect clubs and hotels to pick up again until 2010-11.
By comparison, Star City – where smoking is still permitted in the high rollers’ room – collected about $8 million more in pokie revenue than predicted in this year’s budget.
This is exactly why here in the US we have Iowa hypocritically exempting casinos from its new smoking ban, with Michigan possibly poised to do the same. When smoking dependent businesses lose revenue, well that’s just too bad. But when the state risks losing taxes, it’s happy to give itself a competitive advantage.