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Bahamas to Pass Casino Tax Legislation

19 June 2003

BAHAMAS – As reported by the Nassau Guardian: “The Government will seek to pass legislation to enhance Casino Taxation while amending the Lotteries and Gaming Act to legalise the regime under which taxation is paid, announced Minister of Financial Services and Investment Allyson Maynard-Gibson during her contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Assembly.

“She explained that the former Government was to introduce new legislation to effect such changes so that the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas (HCB) would no longer `own’ all casinos in The Bahamas.

“`The new Casino Taxation would have meant additional revenues to the Treasury but would have meant removal of the one and only source of revenue for the Corporation,’ Minister Gibson explained.

“The HCB, she said, have lost a total of $58.7 million in revenue from 1998-2002 because casinos have not been paying Casino fees, although Management Agreements remain in effect.

“…Concessions were given to Sun International as well as the Ruffin Group which meant a substantial reduction in annual casino fees from $20 million to $8 million at one stage, she said. The HCB has commenced a study of casino taxation in other jurisdictions to facilitate review by Government to ensure the profitability of casinos and equitable tax returns to the Government, the Minister added.

“…Many of the casino operators are behind payment of casino taxes that should have accrued to the Treasury under the existing casino taxation, she said.

“…She said that it was felt that HCB ownership of casinos would cause due regard for tourism and employment. Also of note, she said, is that the present Government will continue to uphold the commitments of the former administration but will give its best effort to collect outstanding taxes. The government will, in consultation, pass legislation to legally effect policies…”

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