Victorian casino operator Crown Ltd says it has won approval from the state government to increase the number of table games at its Melbourne casino and to increase its floor area.
In return, Crown says it has agreed to a phased increase in the tax rate on electronic gaming machines - pokies.
The changes are the result of negotiations between Crown and the Victorian government under their Casino Management Agreement.
Under the new arrangements, Crown said in a statement on Tuesday, Crown Melbourne's casino licence will be amended to increase the maximum permitted number of table games, and fully automated multi-station table games will be allowed.
"The new limits will allow Crown to increase the number of traditional table games (blackjack, roulette, baccarat, etc) by about 100 tables and to also increase the number of poker tables by about 50 tables," Crown said in the statement.
The gaming floor will be expanded to accommodate the increased gaming capacity.
In return, Crown said it had agreed with the government that the tax on electronic gaming machines would be raised by 1.72 per cent each year for six years from 2009/10, resulting in a total tax increase of 10.32 per cent by 2014/15.
But Crown says another change to the agreement is that it won't have to pay the Health Benefit Levy, currently $4,333 per electronic machine per year, from July 1, 2012.
Crown said the Victorian Government had promised that it would initiate no further tax or levy changes before June 30, 2022 - 13 years away.
Crown's Executive Chairman, James Packer, said Crown Melbourne's gaming capacity had "long been constrained by its licence restrictions".
"These new arrangements now allow us to expand and improve the gaming floor in line with recent and future expansions to Crown's hotels, restaurants, retail and carparking," Mr Packer said.
"The expansion of the casino will be integrated into the major refurbishment program currently underway at Crown Melbourne and will complement the west end redevelopment of the complex, which includes the new third hotel and associated restaurants and retail facilities.
"This will assist us to maintain the Crown Entertainment Complex as one of the world's great casino/hotel complexes and a major tourism asset for Victoria," Mr Packer said.
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