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Discussions continuing with gaming houses on taxes

Government continues to have discussions with the gaming houses regarding the increase in taxes the sector faces, and on how any negative effects can be mitigated moving forward, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest. The stamp tax implementation imposed on customers has been delayed until the end of August, he said.

Turnquest, who was speaking to media following a Rotary Club meeting at the Poop Deck on East Bay Street, said, come what may, government intends to move forward with the taxation plan in its 2018/2019 budget. Turnquest said the sliding scale of tax increases on the sector came into effect on July 1.

The stance of the Bahamas Gaming Operators Association (BGOA) is that it has no issue with tax increases, as long as they are fair and supported by empirical data.

Ahead of the July 1 implementation, the BGOA released the results of a study it conducted on the impact the government’s proposed tax rates would have on the industry. That study, conducted by an independent expert, Gavin Hamilton, found that as a result of the new tax rates, 2,000 jobs would be lost from the sector and 192 gambling venues would close down.

The BGOA and other private sector entities called for the government to release the results of any studies it had done on the effects its tax increases would have on the economy. However, the government never conceded.

Government announced during the presentation of the 2018/2019 budget in Parliament that gaming houses that make revenues up to $20 million would be taxed at a rate of 20 percent; those that make revenues between $20 and $40 million at a rate of 25 percent; those with revenues between $40 million and $60 million at a rate of 30 percent; those making between $60 million and $80 million at a rate of 35 percent; those with revenues between $80 million and $100 million at a rate of 40 percent; and gaming houses bringing in more than $100 million at 50 percent.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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