Categorized | National News

Gaming Taxes for Domestic Winnings

The new Gaming Amendment Bill 2019 seeks to impose a tax on the winnings of number games for domestic players, according to Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday in the House of Assembly. 

D’Aguilar, who is also the minister responsible for gaming, made this comment after the original amendment bill was withdrawn this past Tuesday.  

He said, “When the amendments to the Gaming House Operator Regulations are laid in this honorable house at its next sitting, it will call for a small winnings tax of 5 per cent of winnings paid to a domestic player of a numbers game, where the winnings are less than $1,000 and 7.5 per cent of winnings paid to a domestic player of a numbers game, where the winnings are $1,000 or more.”

According to the minister, 55 per cent of gaming house revenue comes from spinning and 45 per cent comes from purchasing numbers. 

D’Aguilar said governments are always mindful of trying to balance growth in gaming while protecting its citizens from its destruction. 

He added that if this new tax deters consumers from gambling, “is it really a bad outcome?”

D’Aguilar said, “If gambling continues to grow and grow and grow, ploughing more and more money into an unproductive sector of our economy, taking money away from mortgages, healthcare, education and the like, the governments seek to get a greater share of that revenue to fund things that help the many as opposed a pastime that is obviously enriching the few.”

Since this would be a new tax, he said, the amount the government hopes to derive involves a certain amount of speculation. 

However, he said it should amount to $10 million to $15 million, bringing the government closer to its estimated $50 million mark.

“This government, Mr. Speaker, feels that that split, $45 million to $50 million for seven operators and $22 million for the government is inequitable and, through amendments to the regulations that will be laid in the next sitting of this honorable House of Assembly, it is the intention of the government to increase the rate of tax on gaming revenues from 11 per cent across the board to 15 per cent on the first $24 million of gaming revenues and then 17.5 per cent on all gaming revenues over $24 million,” he said.

He said this increase in the gaming tax rate should generate an additional $10 million to $12 million in gaming tax revenues and increase the government’s take from $22 million to $32 million to $34 million annually.

Clause three of the bill also seeks to establish a special investigation unit to investigate gaming activities for which no license was granted and empower the gaming board to apply to the court for warrants. 

He said, “To be effective, steps must be taken to allow the board to staff the SIU with personnel who have the law enforcement backgrounds, as well as the accounting and IT expertise necessary to conduct these highly complex investigations. It will require companion budget provisions and salary range amendments to optimally implement this new unit.”

The bill also seeks to incorporate the participation of the police in investigations carried out under the act.  

Written by Jones Bahamas

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