Gaming operators grand standing, says DPM

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest.

Finance Minister Peter Turnquest insisted Friday that gaming operators are using governments new scaled tax regime as an excuse to terminate employees.

“These businesses always intended on downsizing their operations due to the fact that an increasing number of gamers have turned to online gambling,” Turnquest claimed, as he fielded questions from reporters on the sidelines of the 2018 Caribbean Conference of Accountants.

“Some of these operations have been struggling in the past, without any changes in the environment, so you see that business decisions are being made irrespective of tax.

“You also see the consolidation of the industry and a move to more transactions being done online.”

Turnquest said the sudden proposition of mass layoffs is only a game of smoke and mirrors, considering the fact that government has yet to introduce the new tax hike.

“Any industry faced with changes and regulations has to make their own decisions on how they will proceed. But, I think it would be unfair to say that the consolidation is happening because of the tax,” he noted.

“For most of the industry, the tax burden has not shifted significantly to prompt this kind of response.”

Turnquest confirmed that government will do its part to expand the economy to provide employment opportunities for those terminated from their jobs.

A Sure Win announced earlier this week that it would close 11 store ahead of the tax hike, affecting some 50 employees.

Island Luck also informed its employees this week that 350 of them will be let go in the next 30 days.

Letters to employees at both companies, were followed by a third one on Friday from management at Paradise Games, which made staff aware of company restructuring and encouraged employees to exercise caution in their spending and saving habits, ahead of possible layoffs.

1 comments

With respect to the Gaming houses,The Govt. Reminds me of the fable of “the dog with bone in mouth” sees reflection in the water and decided he wanted another bone. Once he opened his mouth he lost the bone he had. The DPM May be right that the industry would face consolidation due to market changes and stores would close. But there is absolutely no question that the “disincentive” of dramatic tax increases on the local gaming industry solely spurred their reaction to downsize now rather than later. In fact a Govt. Whose intent is to increase jobs would have sat down with these web shop owners and encourage them to maintain job stability of their staff. It makes little economic sense to roll out substantial incentives to foreign investors to essentially create jobs, but penalize a Bahamian owned industry with punitive taxation, who in fact have created significant jobs. Anyone with substantial retail stores ( Like Super Value, Burns House) will tell you that “good” stores carry the “bad” or underperforming stores. These bad stores are kept as long as the owners are reasonably assured of continued profitability. Let the government change the pattern of the earnings stream of these retail establishments and you would see that Rupert Roberts reaction will be no different from that of Sebas Bastian and his colleagues.

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