The Bahamas is a place to enjoy gambling or at least it was one of the first locations to allow online operators. However, the news is not good for online gambling operators. A recent announcement states, online gaming operators will need to pay high taxes.
Operators are told they are going to have to pay as much as 50% of their revenue toward taxes if the Bahamas tax hike goes through. Last week, Harold Minnis, from the Free National Movement Government, stated that they will introduce a new tax hike. He is the current Prime Minister, elected last year. He examined the budget for 2018 and 2019 to find that income is required to maintain the island. One way to get more revenue for the government is to increase the gambling taxes. The hike will be paid by local “web shop” operators, who provide lottery games and online casino games from computer terminals at retail locations.
Web shops were authorized through the Progressive Liberal Party in 2014. The deal was an 11 percent tax was paid on their gaming revenue or 25 percent of the earnings, the greater amount is what has been paid in the past, plus two percent of the revenue is designed to go to help social causes.
The new budget with a tax hike to 20 percent across the board and rising to 25 percent on revenue after the first year, would mean somewhere around $40 million in revenue paid per year to taxes. There is the potential to increase the tax rate to 50%, which would then send companies over $100 million in taxes.
The web shops end users are not spared either. They will need to pay 5 percent tax on customer deposits. The government is not putting a similar customer tax on Bahamian casinos, which are available only to international tourists.
The Outcome of the Hike
The casinos that are for international tourists are not seeing the same tax increase because the island and government still want tourists to come and spend money. They may be apt to go elsewhere if they had to pay a fee. But, for the locations that are being taxes it could mean dire straits, according the a few of the outspoken operators.
Gambling operators and the web shop industry say 2,000 jobs will be lost due to the tax hikes. The jobs are sorely needed by Bahamians, as it is their income, so something will need to be done to keep things fair.