Categorized | National News

Web Shop Winnings Could Be Taxed

For months the ongoing debate on gaming danced around the regularisation and taxing of web shops, however, Bahamians may possibly be taxed on their winnings from web shop operators, as Gaming Minister Obie Wilchcombe said that discussions are ongoing in that regard and a decision will be made soon.

“That’s something that’s being considered right now, we have not arrived on a conclusion on that because there are those who argue to tax on your winnings and those who argue you tax the web shops, so both are being look at right now but I suspect that by Friday we’ll have the final decision on that,” he said.

Minister Wilchcombe went on to assure that the government is working on the final touches to the much anticipated gaming legislation and are awaiting a report from the law firm Grant Thornton on web shop earnings from the past six to seven years.

This report will be used as a guideline to tax web shops.

Despite the delay in tabling the gaming bill, Minister Wilchcombe said the process will not be rushed as it is important to maintain and build the integrity of the gaming industry and ensure that the anticipated legislation for gaming is accepted globally.

“We have had a reputation for over 100 years now, only on one occasion was questions ever raised when we had the world commission inquiry in Grand Bahama but we’ve always had a high end gaming, our integrity has always been the best,” he said.

“We’re considered the grandfathers of gaming because of our integrity, many countries like Singapore come to The Bahamas to learn from us and now Singapore leads the world so you have to appreciate how well we’ve been out there and now what we have to do with this legislation because it is progressive, because it could set a trend globally we have to make sure that all players, whether it’s the banks, whether it’s the FATF, whether it’s the web shop owners, whether it’s the casino operators or Bahamians all accept it.”

In regards to those web shops who are not eligible for regulation, he said this much.

“They’ll have to close, if any don’t fit by the request proposal that were asking all companies to apply and if they can’t meet the standards, they will have to close but what I suspect will happen is that some will seek to become conglomerate, that’s business, that’s expected but we have to have a high standard,” he said.

Once the bill is approved regulations will take affect retroactive to the July 1, the bill is expected to be tabled in parliament by the end of this month.

He added that the government will ensure that both web shops and casinos are able to coexist without a conflict.

He also answered questions about a national lottery and said the government will not close its eyes to the benefits of a national lottery.

“We’ve been talking with companies, foreign groups have to come The Bahamas asking for letters of invite to be considered in consideration of a lottery license and the reasons for that is very simple because there is value to it and we have to think of all times of how we have to fund healthcare, education, culture, sports, we have to think about these things and countries have found ways to do it and we have to give consideration to the ways that have been found.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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