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.