By Crystal Thompson
According to a press release from the Gaming Industry Association of Montana (GIA), Havre city government received $491,500 in revenue from taxes paid on gambling machine income this year.
That figure accounts for nearly 18 percent of Havre's general fund budget in the fiscal year 2000. The general funds pay for a variety of city services, from police to parks. This year's total was over $24,000 more than last year's earnings of $466,900.
The money is Havre's share of over $27 million in gambling machine income taxes distributed to local governments statewide. Rich Miller, executive director of the GIA said that Havre's numbers are consistent with gaming income throughout the state. "They run about the same everywhere," he said, "between 18 and 25 percent."
The gross revenue tax on video gaming machines is levied on the difference between money put into the machines and money paid out in winnings. Video gambling operators have paid about $332 million in taxes since 1989, the year the state authorized its current gambling taxation policy.
Figures released by the Department of Justice's Gambling Control Division show video gambling during the recent fiscal year grew 6.7 percent over 1999. "The numbers are growing at a fairly slow pace, but they are growing," Miller said. "The growth rate is about what we expected as the industry continues to mature," he wrote.