Bastian: Leaving gaming houses off tax concession list must have been an oversight
Leaving gaming off the list of industries the tax credit and tax deferral concession is available to must have been an “oversight”. This is the conclusion that Sebas Bastian, chief executive officer of gaming house Island Luck, has come to.
Bastian told Guardian Business that the industry has written to the government to be added to the list.
According to Bastian, he does not know why his industry has been barred from being able to receive the concession, given that gaming houses have had to close down locations.
“It was a bit surprising that gaming was excluded, being that the industry is in the top five in terms of employment,” Bastian said.
“You would think that preserving the employment in that industry would also be important to the Ministry of Finance (MOF).
“At the end of the day, these employees, we do pay their NIB (National Insurance Board) contributions and they are the ones who are impacted directly by this COVID-19.
“It may not be in the form of a job loss, as we have not had to make any move like that. But the reality is, every operator is in a different position, [runs] a different balance sheet. What one operator can afford, another one may not be able to and it really shouldn’t depend on whether the industry is seen to be lucrative, or an operator is seen to be able to navigate in these unusual times.
“It should be a national policy that is put in place to achieve the objective of securing employment levels and I think it really shouldn’t be limited to exclude any industry, especially the ones that have large employment and especially industries like ours, which are directly affected. So, I’m gonna call it an oversight.”
Bastian said the MOF has acknowledged receipt of the request for gaming to be added to the list of industries able to take advantage of the tax credit and tax deferral concession.
“They have communicated that they would look into it to see if there can be a reconsideration on that,” he said.
According to Bastian, there are more than 3,000 employees throughout the gaming industry affected by the shutdown.
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