Uncertainty looms over gaming sector - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

Other Internet gaming companies are indicating that they will be relocating executives to other jurisdictions due to the new burden of income tax.

Spokesperson for the Antigua & Barbuda Offshore Gaming Association Ronald Maginley told the SUN yesterday that though he was not aware of any other companies planning to leave Antigua & Barbuda, there were some relocations planned.

He was unwilling to name the companies planning this management move, suffice to say "they were from one of the largest gaming companies in the country, and it might be a typical move for other companies."

Maginley said he was not sure of the eventual effect of relocation, but opined that "it does not hold well for the maintenance and development of additional call centre operations."

Previously, Minister of Finance and the Economy Dr. Errol Cort had intimated on the eve of the reintroduction of income tax that he did not anticipate the deflection of investment dollars or gaming companies from this country due to income tax - a position that Maginley strongly disagrees with.

"I disagree that he is prepared to speak on this or any issue in absolute terms because we are not privy to deliberations that are ongoing within companies," he told the SUN.

"Income tax has changed the cost advantage of doing activities within Antigua & Barbuda and the extent of the rise in costs will be determined in due time, but I am aware that one of our largest gaming companies is actively engaged in the process of relocating some of its people," Maginley said.

Concerning the gaming company that had planned to move its operations to another jurisdiction in Kanwaki Quebec, the spokesman reported that the company had decided "to come back and are examining the situation; they are still analysing the situation."

Maginley noted that most gaming companies were "still up in the air" concerning their next move.

"Because of lack of clear information, they have made preparations and what they are now doing is running their numbers as to what is more cost effective," he said.

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