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Webshops Will Not Shut Down During Legal Change

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

CONTRARY to what was mandated in a previous draft of the Gaming Bill, webshop businesses that qualify for government licences will no longer be required to shut down while the gaming industry is regularised, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed yesterday.  

He added that those businesses will be allowed to continue offering services during the industry’s transition period, a period he expects to last no less than six months.

Mr Wilchcombe was speaking to The Tribune about the matter as the government continues to work on “final details” of its anticipated Gaming Bill, which is expected to be tabled in the House of Assembly this week.

Among those final details, he said, was the rate at which to tax webshops.

“The rate is still being discussed,” he said. “We’ve played with several numbers. The former Ingraham administration thought about 10 per cent. The rate we will tax them at will be higher but we are still determining it.”

He also confirmed that seven or eight licences will be offered to gaming operators, adding that the total price of the licences will be addressed in Parliament on Wednesday.

“Eleven or so companies are in gaming right now and so we’re thinking (how many licences we give) will be predicated on those who can withstand the wherewithal to stay in the business,” he said.

Nonetheless, Mr Wilchcombe said his government is still discussing the regularisation of the gaming industry with banks in an effort to gain their support. Despite the Christie Administration’s decision to meet with representatives of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and to implement their recommendations with respect to the gaming industry, Mr Wilchcombe said “certain banks have made it clear they do not engage in gaming revenue at all.”

Several weeks ago he told The Tribune his government was making progress with gaining the support of banks.

“All banks are concerned about any issue relating to circumstances and they want questions answered about banks being used for the wrong reasons,” he said, stressing that discussion with certain banks is ongoing.

“It’s far from being a done deal. We have much more work to do. After regularising the industry we will have to do audits to ensure numbers given are correct and to determine how the business works.”

Attorney Wayne Munroe, who represents some webshop operations in the country, said yesterday that he isn’t concerned about banks not supporting the impending gaming regime, adding that the government could “always” attract banks from around the world who would be willing to support it.

“They could go to Canada or the English banks that accept money from online gaming or Malta,” he said. “If the local banks decide not to do business, they are not the only ones who could offer them.”

He also expressed satisfaction with the government’s decision not to enact a closure period for webshop businesses that will receive a licence.

“That’s what would make sense,” he said. “Let’s assume you have 3,000 people working in the industry. Are you going to fire all of them during a closure period? The closure period has never made sense and that’s what we’ve said from the beginning.”

Comments

PKMShack 4 years, 8 months ago

Call election they got what they voted for, LIES AND MORE LIES hope you all learn from this, THIS TIME

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 8 months ago

This corrupt looney tune Wilchcombe is nothing but the voice box for the likes of Christie and Maynard-Gibson. Just listen to how he refers to the illegal activities of the web shops as services offered to the public. Wilchcombe is nothing but a corrupt bastard speaking for others who are too cowardly to admit in public that they are beholden to the almightly dollar they have taken from mobsters like Craig Flowers not too mention the future dollars the numbers' bosses are dangling in front of the glazed eyes of all the other corrupt bastards who have hijacked our political system. Whatever you do as a voter, don't ever vote for anyone who seems content to have our political system bought and paid for by racketeering criminals like Craig Flowers! Wilchcombe's, Christie's and Maynard-Gibson's day of reckoning is not far off now and it's a crying shame that the stalwart councilors of the PLP apparatus have allowed themselves to become useless and meaningless by tying their decisions and the political future of the PLP to the greedy corrupt whims of such corrupt politicians who today stand totally unclothed and look so damn ugly to Bahamian voters. Christie standing naked as he now is, is one un-Godly looking sight for just about anyone who has the ability to cast a vote!!

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 8 months ago

Go to Canada or Malta? Oh you mean bypass the Central Bank under whose regulations local banks operate?

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bismark 4 years, 8 months ago

All of this would have been avoided if the the PM had just done his job as the PM of the commonwealth of the Bahamas and make a decision and the hell with anyone thinks,that's what a leader does,but no,he wanted to throw the responsibility of the decision on the electorate and they voted no,now he is going against democracy by instilling this web thing into law after the people voted no,this WILL cause him the next ELECTION.

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Honestman 4 years, 8 months ago

It's just one factor that will cause him the election. The Party's abject failure on the crime front, it's imposition of VAT next year, the side deals for cronies and friends, and PGC's dereliction of all leadership responsibility will persuade all but the mindless PLP diehards to reject the party at the ballot box in 2017.

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The_Oracle 4 years, 8 months ago

It is everything That Perry HASN'T done and everything he has (wrongly), that will cost the PLP the election, So, 8 Licenses to be granted at some cost, what happens to the other 3? Continue operating illegally, with impunity? Or get locked up and shut down? How the hell can you legitimize these, but not the others? How screwed up can your thinking be? The great PLP laundering scheme for Cronies Act! Overnight legitimacy for those who donated to the coffers of......

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GrassRoot 4 years, 8 months ago

Well it's obvious that they got push back from FATF. This is far from being over. The bill is nothing more than government approval of organized money laundering and even MPs that vote for this May become targets of FATF actions.

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Honestman 4 years, 8 months ago

The silence from the Attorney General on this is defeaning!

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