Bishop Joseph Atherley, leader of the Opposition, shared an opinion that legalized casino gambling would seriously deteriorate the state of the nation. According to him, the addition of legal casino gambling would only bring problems to Barbados, such as increased levels of organized crime, money laundering, as well as widespread corruption.
Mr. Atherley described the aforementioned probabilities in his first reply to the Budget speech, only a day after the Barbados Government revealed its intentions to roll out table gambling and online gambling in the country. What greatly bothers him is casino gambling, which has not been mentioned for the time being, but he believes that it is only a matter of time before the Government gives it the green light.
The Opposition leader said that the estimates of the taxes derived from betting and gaming to BBD30 million give him the impression that some significant changes are coming in terms of gambling legalization, and especially casino gambling. Still, he admitted that he was not in the position to give any advice to the Government’s administration on the possible introduction of casino gambling in the country, but still warned the Government that there were some shady elements associated with such a gambling expansion.
New Tax Set to Be Imposed on Gambling Winnings
Mr. Atherley insisted that there has not been any official confirmation from the Government, but their actions seemed like casino gambling was on the way. He further noted that if true, then the authorities need to proceed with caution, as no matter how skillfully they introduce gambling operations, they still become part of Barbados’ reality.
According to the leader of Opposition, the addition of casino gambling would definitely bring a range of socially undesirable phenomenon such as money laundering, corruption and organized crime.
At the time when the Government delivered the 2019 Budgetary Proposals on Thursday, it also revealed that a 20% withholding tax is planned to be imposed on gambling winnings, as well as a 17.5% gambling tax on the net drop of all gaming establishments across the country.
The 2019 Budget is set to come into effect on May 1st.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley further revealed that investors within the tourism industry had demonstrated strong interest to expand their presence across the nation by adding gaming tables and machines to their offerings.
The Opposition’s leader, however, believes that the Government’s movement of taxes for betting and gaming from BBD3 million to BBD13 million in the estimates come to prove future plans for the introduction of casino gambling in the country. He asked the Government for more details on the matter, saying that he could be wrong by making such conclusions but asked for more information in order to bring more clarity to the matter.