Last week, the operators of Sydney's Star City Casino announced a $56.8 million loss for the first half of the financial year. The construction and opening of this latest mega-gambling den (held with great fanfare just over a month ago) cost some $150 million.
The poor return for Star City has been blamed on the drop in the number of big money gamblers and tourists from Asia as a result of the economic crisis there. Other big casinos have announced similar losses for the same period (see article on page 6).
However, the owners of these casinos are confident that they can get "back in the black". They know they can rely on local gamblers, many of them poor and desperate, to keep the cash rolling in. More importantly, they know they can rely on their mates in parliament to help bail them out. Star City recently applied to the NSW government to have the tax on high rollers dropped from an average of 27% to 10%.
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