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Webshops Will Get Seven Days To Close

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

WEBSHOPS that are not granted licences to operate will have seven days to shut down once notices of closure are released, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced yesterday.

His statement came during a House of Assembly session as he hailed the “imminent” enactment of legislation associated with the new gaming regime.  

With the Gaming Act coming into force on Monday, Mr Wilchcombe struck a firm tone, detailing the steps webshop operators must take to remain viable in their bids to receive licences.

He stressed that webshops that intend to remain open during the transitional period must pay their tax arrears for the period July 1 to November 24, 2014, no later than December 1.

“Any failure by a webshop proprietor to pay these (back) taxes timely and in full will be grounds for the disqualification of such business for licensing, as well as the disqualification of the owner thereof from participating in a licence bid,” he said.

“Therefore even those webshop owners who may not yet have made a final decision as to whether they intend to continue their operations during the transitional period are advised to make payment of the arrear taxes, in order to avoid later disqualification for licensing as gaming house operators. Webshop operators are urged to make contact with the secretary of the Gaming Board if they have any queries in this regard.”

Mr Wilchcombe added that webshop owners are required to make “full and frank disclosure of revenues generated by their past business operations” by December 1.

Failure to do this will result in them being disqualified from obtaining gaming house operator licences, he said.

He added that operators have until December 8 to lodge sworn affidavits with the secretary of the Gaming Board in which they disclose whether they wish to operate their businesses during the transitional period.

On December 17, the Gaming Board is expected to publish a notice about its intention to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for licences, he said.

“Only companies which are held 100 per cent by Bahamian citizens who ordinarily reside in the Bahamas will qualify for licensing as a gaming house operator,” he said, adding that the closing date for purchasing an RFP will be January 9, 2015.

The closing date for submitting applications for gaming house operator and gaming house premises licences will be February 20, 2015.

“The Gaming Board will conduct detailed probity investigations into the various applicants with a view to determine whether they qualify for licensing and have submitted applications which meet or exceed the requirements of the legislation and the RFP,” said Mr Wilchcombe.

He added that “if all goes well” the process will be concluded by May next year.

“Once the final decision has been taken regarding which of the applications have been successful,” he said, “notices of closure will be served on those businesses in respect of which licences have not been granted. These businesses will then be required to close their doors within seven days of the date of service of the notice of closure.”

Comments

B_I_D___ 4 years, 9 months ago

You mean they will have 7 days to find the right person to pay off and the right police officers to man the premises of an illegal operation...

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Sickened 4 years, 9 months ago

So, it's going to be exactly how it is now? Operators who are supposed to be shut down (all of them) will remain open and financially assist politicians and policemen. I'm not really sure why people get licence's here because there is no penalty for not having one (other than bribe money which you need to contribute even with a business licence).

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Honestman 4 years, 9 months ago

So now that the "big boys" have been looked after and legalized the "unchosen" smaller fish can perish. Money talks. Watch for some wealthy PLP politicians demitting office in a few years time.

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TalRussell 4 years, 9 months ago

Comrade Minister Obie how in hell can you begin the numbers, already acknowledging there exists "payment errors?" Are you going to enforce the same laws on the books that have been there all along to shut down the 'same" non compilers? Minister Obie tell the people why you never used the same courts after the "NO Vote?" Are you to dispatch the same damn policeman's as were on government's payroll for years? What can the Commish do in 8 days, that he couldn't do order his policeman's do before? Minister since you now know the numbers operators have taken in collectively close One-Billion-Dollars, yes that's with capital B, will you now levy the much increased penalties? if not, why not?

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SP 4 years, 9 months ago

BOB failed.....BDB failed....Immigration failed......Education failed.....Tourism failed.....BEC failed.....BTC failed.....Justice system failed.....Customs failed.....Banking failed.....

SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY.

No matter how you slice it.....Face it....... Both PLP and FNM.....FAILED!

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DEDDIE 4 years, 9 months ago

You could not closed the internet cafe before how in the world would you be able to close them now. You ever heard about underground lottery houses.

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pablojay 4 years, 9 months ago

Even though i voted yes in the referendum,having seen lately all the financial ruin ordinary Bahamians are experiencing due to gambling, i now wish they would all close , because only the operators are getting fat(financially) and the government being unable to manage our economy sensibly,is depending on them to generate more money, coming mostly from Bahamians who can least afford it.Combine that with VAT,heaven help us all ! We let people get away with anything ,when we are the same colour. Could you imagine a white government and white web shop operators in this same situation ? PLEASE HELP ME WITH WHAT YOU THINK THE PLP WOULD BE SHOUTING FROM THE ROOFTOPS.

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