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SkyCity Dealt a Blow – Casino Operator Loses Duty Appeal in Australia

SkyCity Entertainment, a major casino operator in New Zealand and Australia, has suffered a significant financial setback after losing an appeal against a tax ruling. The Australian court verdict requires SkyCity to pay an additional A$13 million (approximately NZ$14 million) to the South Australian government.

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The Case: Duty on Pokie Machines

The dispute centered around “casino duty,” a tax levied on the profits generated from pokies, also known as slot machines. SkyCity argued that a specific calculation method should be used to determine the taxable amount, resulting in a lower duty obligation.

However, the court ruled in favour of the South Australian authorities. Their interpretation deemed a broader tax base applicable, encompassing the total revenue generated from pokie machines. This broader approach significantly increased SkyCity’s tax liability.

Financial Implications

The A$13 million judgment represents a substantial financial burden for SkyCity. While the company maintains a strong financial position, this ruling sets a precedent for future tax calculations. Potential repercussions include:

  • Increased tax liability: SkyCity’s Adelaide casino operations might face similar tax assessments in the coming years.
  • Impact on profitability: The additional tax outgoings could affect SkyCity’s overall profitability, potentially impacting dividends and future investments.

Industry-Wide Repercussions

The court’s decision has broader implications for the Australian gambling industry. Other casino operators utilising similar pokie machines might face similar challenges with tax authorities, potentially leading to increased industry-wide tax burdens. For more details on the recent developments at SkyCity Casino, visit 

Response and Potential Next Steps

SkyCity has acknowledged the court’s decision and is currently reviewing its options. Potential courses of action include:

  • Compliance: Accepting the ruling and fulfilling the A$13 million payment obligation.
  • Further Appeal: Exploring the possibility of appealing the decision to a higher court.

While the company hasn’t explicitly announced its next move, resolving the situation swiftly is crucial to minimise financial strain and potential reputational damage.

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Looking Ahead: Regulatory Landscape and Responsible Gambling

This case highlights the evolving regulatory landscape surrounding gambling taxation in Australia. Governments are actively seeking ways to ensure they receive a fair share of the revenue generated by the gambling industry.

Furthermore, the significant tax liability imposed on SkyCity underscores the potential financial risks associated with gambling operations. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of responsible gambling practices and the need for stricter regulations to protect vulnerable individuals.


SkyCity’s loss in the duty appeal serves as a reminder of the evolving regulatory landscape surrounding the gambling industry.  While the financial impact might be limited to the company in the short term, the broader implications point towards potential shifts in taxation structures and increased scrutiny for casino operators.

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