Gambling Firm To Sue Aussie Local Government For $600 million

Gambling Firm To Sue Aussie Local Government For $600 millionGambling firm Tatts Group is preparing to sue the Victorian government for around $598 million following the expiry of its poker machines operating licence held since 1995.
Apparently, when the original licence was granted Tatts agreed to pay substantial licence fees in return for receiving compensation when the agreement expires, a claim currently dismissed by the Victorian government. According to Tatts the amount of compensation owed is equivalent to half the $981 million gaming machine entitlements plus premium transfers payments, and as a company statement explains:
“These licence fees were agreed to be paid on the basis that the state would pay compensation for the investment made in the Tatts pokies business over the 20-year licence period, if a new licence was granted to anyone other than Tatts on the expiry of its licence.”
The Tatts Group along with rival Tabcorp have enjoyed a highly lucrative duopoly in the Victoria area for almost two decades with their 27,500 poker machines in Victoria’s pubs and clubs bringing in huge profits. However, the Victorian government has now decided to follow the New South Wales model, whereby pubs and clubs receive the rights to operate their own poker machines.
If both Tatts Group and Tabcorp pursue their compensation claim the potential bill could top $1 billion, as Tabcorp also believe they are owed around $687 million. However, the company has said it will make no decisions until their  licence expires.
Meanwhile, Tatts recently announced it would now be relocating its head office to Queensland, the current source of its biggest pokies earnings. The company also continues to hold long-term licences in other Australian states, including the NSW Lotteries licence for 40 years, and a 65 years licence to operate the Golden Casket Lotteries in Queensland.

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