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Gaming Industry Now At ‘Standstill’

Craig Flowers

Craig Flowers

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE numbers industry as Bahamians know it is at a “standstill,” Craig Flowers told The Tribune yesterday, insisting his organisation FML Group of Companies, and others, will not be able to clearly chart a course of survival until the new stamp duty on deposits and digital online sales takes effect.

This new five per cent stamp tax was initially set to come on stream on July 1.

However, according to Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday, the tax will not be applied until sometime in August.

He explained there was a need to modify point of sale systems and gaming platforms.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mr Flowers said the stamp tax will be the determining factor for the gaming industry. It was also the reason why he chose not to make any definitive statements concerning the employment future of hundreds of employees. 

“The entire industry stands still,” he said yesterday when The Tribune contacted him. “I think the government thinks it will be just normal, but that is yet to be seen.

“The operators and the government’s positions are the only ones that have been considered. No one has considered that of the patrons when they have the final say.

“Their response to the (stamp) tax will determine the entire gaming industry. My position has always been that I needed to wait when it came to laying off people for that reason.”

In May, Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said the new stamp tax on web shop deposits and digital online sales was to come on stream at the same time as a new sliding tax scale on gaming houses.

At the time, he said: “We are increasing the taxation of gaming house activities through the introduction of a sliding scale of rates applied to taxable revenue, namely: up to $20m, a rate of 20 percent; between $20m and $40m, a rate of 25 percent; between $40m and $60m, a rate of 30 percent; between $60m and $80m, a rate of 35 percent; between $80m and $100m, a rate of 40per cent; and over $100m, a rate of 50 percent.”

Mr D’Aguilar attributed the delay in stamp tax to it being a new form of taxation that needed special conditions.

“Obviously this is a completely new form of taxation. The customer would come to the window and pay their money and of course five per cent of the money they pay at the window would have to be immediately deducted to cover this new tax,” the minister said yesterday.

“So you would need a modification to your existing point of sale system to account for this new tax. What is customary is once you’ve made modifications to these programmes, which are intertwined with the games and whole gaming environment, is that you get the company to come in and certify the platform that you are using to run your gaming company is doing what it is supposed to do and that you as the owner of the gaming company did not go in and make other modifications.

“So for example you may alter the payout rate or you may change the programme to do things that are not what the specs say that it does.

“You just don’t let the gaming companies go in and modify and change things willy-nilly. The Gaming Board insists that a reputable company certifies all of the programmes you’re using in the gaming environment. So that takes time so you have to change the programming and then you have to get it certified so that takes four to six weeks,” he also said.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 1 month ago

This super wealthy thug talks about how his FML group of companies cannot chart a course of survival when for decades he and his kind have preyed on the most vulnerable in our society. Many a young child goes hungry in our country each day because this repugnant and cunning serpent pockets the money their gambling addicted mother or father should be spending at the grocery store.

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Naughtydread 1 year, 1 month ago

Awww poor Flowers, I hope he can manage to get by.

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geostorm 1 year, 1 month ago

Bahamians will continue to gamble. Many are addicted to it and are unable to control the addiction. The stamp tax is a joke for them. They will gamble with the stamp tax or without!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 1 month ago

When those tax amendments came out I wondered if it was all a ploy, the govt can't raise taxes on the public and let the gaming industry continue business as usual right? Right?

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Economist 1 year, 1 month ago

Mr. Flowers, why don't we save you all this head ache?

We we create a National Lottery and shut you down. Then all the profit goes back to "the People" and not you. Now isn't that a nice idea!

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tetelestai 1 year, 1 month ago

Economist, I don't understand why your ideas are mutually exclusive...i.e., create a national lottery anyway. If the numbers businessmen can still remain viable, then let them. You don't need to shut them done to create a lottery. I would argue, however, that the government (read: political party in power) would not stand a chance in competition against the numbers men. Government too inefficient and bureaucratic to compete.

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sealice 1 year, 1 month ago

Like he needs to make up some other excuse for not paying the rare few that win their winnings.....??

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aldo 1 year, 1 month ago

It is very easy to be misled about the impact of taxation in the gambling industries or to misunderstand the impact of taxation in the gambling industries. It is equally easy for test-at-all-cost approach to regulation to stand in the way of gambling technology.

http://www.aml-associates.co.uk/news/...">http://www.aml-associates.co.uk/news/...

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aldo 1 year, 1 month ago

http://www.aml-associates.co.uk/news/...">http://www.aml-associates.co.uk/news/...

The effects of taxation on the gambling industry can be easily misunderstood as can the impacts of technology.

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