If the government and gaming house operators don’t reach an amicable agreement by the end of this week regarding the draft stamp duty rules for the industry, the parties will have to “fight it out” in court, Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday.
“We are in discussions with the attorneys for the gaming house operators. We don’t accept their interpretation of the law. We are still seeking to agree to a framework on the last remaining issue, which is the stamp tax on deposits by gaming patrons,” Bethel told reporters outside the Churchill Building just before the weekly Cabinet meeting.
“I think that we’ll have some further meetings this week and then it will either be, we’ll have an agreement, and if not, we’ll go to court and we will have to fight it out.”
Back in August, attorneys for gaming house operators filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court seeking leave for judicial review and an injunction against the government’s stamp tax on gaming patrons and the sliding scale tax. As a result, the government agreed not to implement the tax on the industry until an amicable solution between the parties could be reached.
Bethel said following this week’s meetings, he expects gaming house operators to begin paying the taxes owed to the government as outlined in the legislation.
“Even though there is a joined legal issue, the law is the law, and it must be obeyed,” he said.
In May, the government announced that gaming patrons would see a five percent stamp tax applied on deposits and any non-online games or digital sales.
The government also announced a new sliding scale tax structure on gaming house revenues that would have taken effect on July 1.