NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A new development in the ongoing negotiations between government and gaming house operators, if approved, could possibly result in gaming patrons paying a winning tax as opposed to a suggested patron’s tax, said Attorney Wayne Munroe, QC, on Monday.
Munroe revealed to Eyewitness News Online that both he and his colleague, Attorney Alfred Sears, offered suggestions for the government to consider a winning tax for gaming patrons.
While Sears represents PlayTech Systems Limited, Munroe represents the remaining three gaming houses locked in a legal battle with government.
Munroe asserted that the Sears’ suggestion is a clever one and hinted that it has been positively received by government.
“With the patrons’ tax, I agree with the position that Alfred put that if the customer would accept better a winning tax – which is a tax levied when they win, than a tax when they simply play. Because that means you play and then you lose twice by paying the tax and not winning,” he explained.
It was during government’s mid-year budget presentation that the Minnis administration revealed that it would levy a 5 per cent tax on gaming patrons making deposits onto their accounts.
The proposed tax was supposed to have been rolled out during summer 2018, but after much pushback from gaming operators, government was forced to place its new gaming tax regime on hold.
Government and gaming house operators have been locked in negotiations since the proposed new tax regime; wrangling opinions over the patrons’ tax and a sliding tax scheme which would see gaming operators paying up to $100, 000 in taxes on their earnings.
As negotiations now hit the six-month mark, Munroe is optimistic that government will bend, where necessary, to accommodate suggestions which will benefit all parties involved.
While Attorney Alfred Sears claims that he has consistently hit a brick wall in negotiations with government on behalf of his gaming house client, Attorney Wayne Munroe QC has revealed to Eyewitness News Online that his experience has been quite the opposite.
In fact, Munroe said that government has recently positively received suggestions relative to the gaming patrons’ tax.
Sears recently submitted his client’s proposed suggestions to government but Attorney General Carl Bethel rejected his proposition, according to Munroe.
Munroe confirmed that he is preparing to make his submission Monday.
“I am about to send my client’s proposal; now how they react to that will be up to them,” he said.
“Negotiation is an art, not a science. People have different ways of negotiating. Some people give you a hard time but then accept what you say and then there are some people who are nice the entire time and then reject what you say. I judge things by the final act, not anywhere in the middle.
“We say that government cannot set a rate of tax that is so high that will cause web shops to lose money. Now we will present that to government and we will see how they will consider that in considering the rates.”
He continued, “My clients tell me none of them will be affected by it. So, we are just concerned about the lower rate because they can tell from their businesses whether the lower rate will put them out of business or not and PlayTech Solutions Limited will have to say whether or not the upper rates will put them out of business.