Players in the gaming business are optimistic that the imminent law on gaming activities would promote transparency and modernise the industry.
Cabinet recently endorsed a bill on gaming activities, which if passed by parliament will also increase government’s tax revenue collections from the industry.
Government intends to slap a 13 per cent specific tax as well as a withholding tax of 15 per cent on gaming activities.
Government is targeting Rwf5.2 billion in tax revenues from gaming activities in the financial year 2011/12.
The collections are expected to offset the anticipated revenue loss that could result from the treasury’s decision to reduce import duties levied on fuel products in an attempt to shield the economy against external shocks.
“Government’s expectation from the industry was expressed seven years ago but due to lack of appropriate legal framework, the industry didn’t deliver,” Phillip Brizoua, the CEO of Rwanda Gaming Corporation (RGC), told Business Times in an interview early this week.
He said law was one of the biggest achievements in the industry.
“In December last year, the gaming regulatory framework was adopted to regulate the industry under international best practices, protect stakeholders and players. Passing the taxation law is an important step for the success of the industry.”
Once the laws is passed, RGC in collaboration with RRA, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Prime Minister’s Office will set up a steering and monitoring committee to guide its execution.
“We shall work with RRA not only as a tax collector, but as a partner to implement the tax law within the next six to 12 months,” he said.
In the short term, Brizoua said, the company will launch a national lottery, horse racing, sports betting and other products and spread their activities countrywide.
RGC has been operating gaming activities since 2009, including Casino Kigali, 200 video slot machines and sport betting. The corporation has not been paying taxes on these activities because the gaming tax law had not yet been passed.