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Antigua to Introduce Gambling Act 2016
- December 13, 2016 By Nemanja L. -
The government of Antigua has revealed plans to introduce new gambling regulation in an attempt to increase tax revenue, but many fear the changes could have the opposite effect.
The Financial Services Regulatory Commission presided over a Gaming Sector Meeting few days ago, with four of eight gaming operators with a valid online gambling license in attendance.
The main idea behind the Gambling Act of 2016 is land-based casino regulation, but the new legislation is also expected to supersede the 2007 Interactive Gaming and Wagering Regulations document.
Gambling Authority Division will be formed with a goal of handling the licensing procedures and overseeing both land-based and online gambling in Antigua, but this does not appear to be good news either for existing license holders or gaming operators hoping to acquire new licenses.
Taxes Will Be Increased
Antigua authorities have given gaming operators an extra incentive to employ local residents as the more local workers they have on their payroll, the less taxes the gaming companies will pay.
Gaming operators that employ four local workers or fewer will be obliged to pay a 5 percent tax on gross gaming revenue, while the tax rate drops to 4.5%, 3.5% and 2.5% for companies with 5-30, 30-100 and 100+ local residents. Regardless of their profits, taxes would be capped at $750,000 per year.
Antigua took a major hit a while back when no fewer than 187 operators left the market as the United States blocked all gaming companies licensed in the island country. The decision was later ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, but that was little comfort for the small nation.
The government has since been trying to attract new gaming operators, but new regulations and higher expenses that follow them could do just the opposite.
Both Malta and Gibraltar are much more attractive destinations for leading gaming companies due to lower expenses and higher security they provide.