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Tabcorp Suing Victoria Gov’t in Pokie Dustup

Tabcorp suing VictoriaAustralian gaming giant Tabcorp is suing the Victorian Government for $687 million they say is due under terms of a 1994 privatization act. The lawsuit comes just weeks after Tabcorp’s poker machine license expired.

Joining Tabcorp in suing the government in Victoria is Tatts, the other half of the state’s former gaming duopoly. Tatts’ suit is nearly identical to Tabcorp’s, but the amount is somewhere around $490 million.

Why They’re Suing

The roots of these cases lie in the Gambling Act of 1994, which privatized the former state gaming monopoly Victoria Tab. That same bill created Tabcorp and gave it an 18-year gaming license.

Under the terms of the deal, Tabcorp and Tatts were set to receive a lump sum payment when their license on 27,500 poker machines expired on August 15. Successive Victorian governments have said they would not honor the deal.

In an interview with the Australian, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu pointed the finger at previous administrations that chose not to renew the Tabcorp and Tatts’ licenses. He also expressed concern on how the payment would affect Victoria as a whole.

The Victorian government will very strongly defend the state’s position and act in the interest of all Victorians. Put together . . . we are talking about a sum of up to or even more than $1.2bn, $1.2bn that would otherwise go to schools, to hospitals, to police, to pre-schools and kindergartens and to community services in general.

There’s no word yet on when this case is expected to be resolved.

Should the Victorian Government be forced to honor their debt to Tabcorp? Share your thought in the comment section below.