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“Death Warrant For Web Shops”

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The Chief Executive Officer of of FML Group of Companies Craig Flowers  says the decision on the government to significantly raise taxes on Web Shop  gaming is a death warrant to the industry. He said there is “no way the Web shops can continue with the proposed taxes. The government is on thin ice; most of the shops will go back underground where they were comfortable.” 

Appearing on the Love 97 Radio Show “On Point” yesterday, Mr. Flowers said, “ I feel betrayed by the present government.  He said Minister of Tourism Dionsio D’aguilar, whose portfolio includes gaming,  promised that regulating the industry would be discussed with the operators. 

“He would have assured me that there was going to be discussions pertaining to the regulations and the manner in which the industry was regulated and that it would be revisited.

“He also assured me that after coming to any type of conclusion on their findings, that it would have been discussed with the operators. 

“And that at that point, there would be some adjustments made, be it increased tax, be it controls on the proliferations of web shops, be it zoning as to where web shops can and cannot operate.

“All of these things were to be discussed and in particular the enormous amount of illegal 

Shops that  continue to exist in the country today, where we have to compete against all of those operators today that are still not regulated by this industry.

In his budget communication last Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest announced the introduction of  a sliding scale of rates applied to taxable revenue of Web Shops, namely: up to $20 million, a rate of 20 per cent, between $20 million and $40 million, a rate of 25 per cent; between $40 million and  $60 million, a rate of 30 per cent; between  $60 million and $80 million, a rate of 35 per cent; between  $80 million and $100 million, a rate of 40 percent; and over $100 million, a rate of 50 per cent.

In addition,  the Minister announced the taxation of gaming patrons through a 5 per cent stamp tax to be levied on both deposits made by patrons at the gaming houses and any non-online games or digital sales.

The Bahamas Gaming Operators Association  through their attorney, Alfred Sears  wrote Mr. Turnquest warning   that it will take legal action over the “expropriatory, discriminatory, excessive and penal” tax rises, if the government does not meet with the operators within the next week.

Mr. Flowers told the radio audience, “ I can’t see how the government can address coming to us for more money. 

If they want more money, tax those persons, go out and find ways and means to tax all of those millions of dollars, from unregulated operators in the industry. 


“That’s  new revenue;  but nobody is talking about that. In the whole deliberation, no one has said anything about how they’re going to address the enormous amount of pilfering from the government tilt by way of unregulated operators,” said Flowers.

 The businessman said he feels disappointed and that it’s one thing to tax the gaming houses,  but another thing to further tax the patrons;  stressing that the real losers in all this would be the patrons. 

“Now if the government is going to impose a second tax on the patrons, certainly the patrons are going to say no way.

“It is unacceptable for the government to impose two taxes on one person for one bet. It is to say you patrons go home, don’t come out here, don’t come back to these places.

“Go somewhere else, find something else to do with your funds, that is what that is blatantly saying, that is clear,” he said.

Mr. Flowers said he envisioned that if modernized, the local gaming industry would create an enormous opportunity for the government to recognize a revenue stream in the country that they had to invest nothing into and that will be able to generate in millions of dollars to the treasury for the purpose of advancing and enhancing the local Bahamian.

The new taxes will be implemented on July 1, 2018. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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