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Barrow and Briceño agree on reversing Dean-Barrow-era lottery-tax policy

By Javan Flowers

Leader of the Opposition (LOO) Moses “Shyne” Barrow supports the Briceño administration’s 12.5% lottery tax to be paid by the “supposedly” UDP-affiliated Brads Gaming Group Ltd (BGGL).

Speaking at a press conference held this week, Barrow said, “I completely support the tax on Brads because this is an example of what I said earlier: taxing those who are making millions of dollars. Certainly, Brads Boledo would fall under that category. So, I have no difficulty implementing that tax that should have been implemented years ago.”

The Lotteries Control (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (or SI No. 51 of 2022)—which reverses a September 2011 policy of the Dean Barrow Administration—reads: “The principal Regulations are amended in the Fourth Schedule..(b) in item 6, by deleting the words ‘exempt from lottery taxes’ and substituting the words ’12.5% (monthly on gross income).

”This change would bring the “Government Lottery” into alignment with the tax on other lotteries such as the National Lottery and the Instant Lottery, both of which are likewise charged 12.5%. The Instant Lottery was also further amended via S.I. No. 166 of 2020.

When presenting the S.I. in Parliament, Briceño pointed fingers at a well-known person connected to the former UDP Government who is "supposedly" affiliated with BGGL.

Lottery tax implemented under S.I. No. 88 of 2011

Briceño further cited that had the Dean Barrow administration implemented the lottery tax on government lotteries back in 2011, the Ministry of Finance estimates that the Government would have collected approximately $60 million in taxes.

This $60 million in exempted taxes is what the LOO wants the current administration to pursue. Barrow said, “Before they [go] after the peddlers with this trade license, I'd prefer them trying to get that 60 million that was exempt."

The reference to the trade license is in regards to the recently tabled Trade Licensing (Amendment) Bill 2022, which, among other things, adds entertainers and e-business operators to the list of businesses subject to the trade licensing fee.

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