Video Poker Lobby in Louisiana suspects that legislators are planning to raise the taxes on revenue from video poker machines and they are getting organized and ready to fight against any possible raise on taxes.
No bills were actually filed during the Legislature’s current session that specifically target video poker for a tax increase so there is no real evidence that legislators are planning to raise the taxes on poker devices however Stan Guidroz, president of the new Louisiana Video Gaming Association, suspects that a raise is on the way and moreover he fears that the tax raise will only affect them but not on riverboats and other casinos. Guidroz is also the vice president for Jacobs Entertainment Inc so it would obviously hurt his personal financial interests as well.
According to Stan Guidroz, while bars and restaurants pay 26.5 percent tax on gambling revenue, Truckstops now pay a tax of 32.5 percent which appears to be the highest tax on gambling in the state of Louisiana. Riverboats, racinos (A racino is a combined race track and casino but the gambling is mostly limited to slot machines) and Harrah’s New Orleans Casino pay lower rates as well. This is also an indispensable part of local government´s income since %25 of tax collected on gambling goes to the local government´s budget.
In Louisiana State, the video poker industry is regulated by the state police through a centralized computer system which is moving to new software. According to Guidroz, the oldest video poker machines won’t be able to communicate with the new software. This will inevitable bring the need to replace half of the 14,000-plus video poker machines in Louisiana state. An upgrade will get the job done for the rest of the devices.
Video poker industry in Louisiana State is planning to invest around $100 million in new machines by the end of 2015.
Guidroz says “We’re going to unplug a machine that’s paid for or roughly paid for and we’re going to go buy another $13,000 machine, plug it in and play the exact same thing.”
Video Poker industry appears to be the center of controversy in many different countries all over the world lately.
Last month, Australia were debating whether to ban video poker or not to ban them but raise the taxes and stricken the regulations on them. The debate heated after ‘The Australian National University’s Centre for Gambling Research’ has reported that up to 85 per cent of gambling addicts have a problem with poker machines and it is estimated that 40 per cent of poker machines revenues come from the gambling addicts which sums up to almost $2.5 billion annually.
The report also pointed out that psychologists are highly involved in the design of these machines and they use very different tricks to mess with a gambling addict´s brain. These tricks range from making sure every light, sight and sound dull your senses to creating the illusion of control from button pressing, generated “near misses”, and payouts that fake a connection between betting more and winning.
It seems like it will take some more time until universal regulations are accepted and Video Poker industry stabilizes all around the world.