Small clubs taxed to death
By EMMA CORNFORD
CLUBS in the Clarence Valley could be forced to close their doors if Carr Government gaming taxes continue to rise.
The Government will raise hotel and club gaming taxes in stages over the next few years, but clubs say the move could lead to them becoming financially unviable.
Yamba Bowling and Recreation Club chief executive officer Jon McGregor said although the larger clubs would probably manage to stay afloat, smaller clubs were definitely at risk.
"A lot of people have the idea that all clubs are financially well off, but they're not," he said.
"You've only got to look at Penrith where they owe $90 million and are saying they have to sell off their smaller assets," he said.
"It's not at all far-fetched to say smaller clubs could close in the Valley."
Grafton District Services Club general manager Arthur Lysaught said although the GDSC was not at risk of closing, the Grafton Bowling Club could be in jeopardy if the tax hikes continue.
"If we did reach a position of financial jeopardy because of this then the bowling club would be the first thing to go, (but) of course we don't want to lose it because it provides an important service to our members," he said.
Mr Lysaught said smoking bans also had the potential to lead to a further downturn in revenue.
"In Victoria, (smoking) bans initially saw a downturn of 15 per cent in revenue. So if that's the downturn, on top of the increased taxes, it means we'll have to look at cutting back," he said. "We're going to do everything we can to find areas of growth because if we don't we could find ourselves in a liquidity problem."
Mr Lysaught said Clubs NSW would be lobbying the Carr Government to put a stop to the tax increases.
"Hopefully the government will change its attitude so the industry can survive," he said.
"If they don't review this then I believe a large slice of the industry won't be there."