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Govt facing gaming tax shortfall

With only two months left in the fiscal year, the government has collected less than half of the gaming tax revenue it forecasted.

The government experienced a “shortfall” in the collection of gaming taxes for the year with only $8.4 million collected thus far, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.

Turnquest said the collections did not meet the government’s projections.

“It is a shortfall,” the deputy prime minister said.

“As you know, several of the operators have not yet accepted the ‘negotiated’ rate.”

He added: “…Equally, and of most concern to the revenue, is the delay in paying the agreed back tax as well as current taxes by several of the operators.”

When asked how much the collection was short by, Turnquest said, “Plenty.”

During the budget communication last May, the government announced a sliding scale tax on gaming house revenues and a five percent stamp tax on deposits.

However, after widespread backlash from gaming operators who claimed that the new taxes would be detrimental to their businesses, and a lawsuit, the government agreed to delay the enforcement of those taxes.

In February, the government announced that it had reached an agreement with gaming house operators which would result in a collection of $35 million annually from the sliding scale tax on net taxable revenue and $15 million from a tax on winnings as a result of lottery bets.

According to data revealed in the “First Six Months Report on Budgetary Performance”, which was compiled and released by the Ministry of Finance, the government collected $9.8 million in revenue from gaming taxes during the first six months of the fiscal year, which is below the year-earlier intake of $14.6 million.

The government collected approximately $18.2 million, added the previous figure to the new figure, in gaming taxes since July 2018, which is roughly $30 million short of the $50 million target it announced earlier this year.

Last week, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said that gaming house operators are paying two months’ worth of taxes each month in order to catch up with back taxes by the end of the fiscal year.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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