Last night, Trinidadian Members’ clubs said to have no option left other than to shut down following the hefty taxes imposed on the industry after Finance Minister Colm Imbert presented the 2017-2018 budget in the House of Representatives yesterday.
Sherry Persad, industry spokesman said to have ‘utter dismay’ after learning about the list of Taxes to be imposed on Casinos. Almost each of them has been raised to 100 percent. Persad further added that it would directly affect employment as we will have to close and minimize. She referred this as ‘catastrophic’ and ‘horrific’.
Imbert, in his presentation, said that the local gambling industry makes $15-$20 billion a year and Government receives nothing from the industry. He said members’ clubs do not pay taxes as they should. According to Imbert, only 9-10 percent clubs pay their due taxes.
On the other hand, Persad responded to Imbert’s statement by asking whose fault is it if the government is not being able to collect the taxes. She said that if the government is allowing people to operate without paying a fair share of taxes then who is to blame? As per Persad, it is not the fault of casino owners and operators.
Persad also said that the gambling industry cannot absorb the new taxes in the country’s current terrible economic climate.