Categorized | National News

No Gambling In Casinos

While the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has promised to take the gambling issue to a referendum in a bid to decriminalise Bahamians playing the popular numbers game in local web houses, Prime Minister Perry Christie said the plan will still make it illegal for Bahamians to gamble in casinos.

During his contribution on the 2012/2013 Prime Minister Christie announced that if passed, the proposed referendum on gambling might give many Bahamians just what they have been waiting for – the opportunity to stop hiding what seems to be a favorite past time but this will by no means make way for Bahamians to take the guilty pleasure to the hotels.

“I do want to stress, however, that this will be a matter for the electorate to decide, one way or the other, in a transparent and fair process,” he said. “I wish to also stress that the matter will in no way, whatsoever, involve consideration permitting Bahamians to gamble in any of the casinos.”

He added that it is a well known fact that if given the green light, the web shop business could pump a substantial sum into the local economy.

“While we expect that efforts to maximise the revenue that we collect from our existing tax system will bear fruit in the near future and medium term it is evident that securing adequate revenue in support of modern governance will require a more fundamental reform of taxation.”

The prime minister also announced that the actual hotel tax collection in 2011/2012 has performed much better than projected.

“We now forecast these at some $44 million as compared to the forecast of $40.8 million, an increase of almost eight per cent,” he added. “Our forecast for 2012/2013 is driven off the new projected level of 2011/2012 and projects that hotel taxes will grow on the order of 2.5 per cent to a total of $45.1 million that represents a modest increase of roughly $1 million from 2011/2012 after taking into consideration the concessions.”

Mr. Christie said the bulk of hotel tax revenue accrue from hotel properties in New Providence.

He added that revenues will not be impacted by reductions announced for Grand Bahama, adding that immediate plans are in motion to help Grand Bahama’s economy to rebound with a 50 per cent reduction in occupancy tax for existing and new hotels.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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