Doubts cast on carnival gaming report; Audit of gaming revenues urged

1263
Public auditor Benjamin Cruz is raising questions about the accuracy of the revenues collected and taxes paid by the vendors who ran the games of chance during the Liberation Carnival this year.
Loading the player...

Public auditor Benjamin Cruz is raising questions about the accuracy of the revenues collected and taxes paid by the vendors who ran the games of chance during the Liberation Carnival this year.

By his reckoning, the report suggests that the vendors who bid just over $400,000 to win the right to run the games of chance ended up losing money.

“Being my skeptical self, I don’t believe the report because I don’t know anybody that would run a business that they’re going to lose,” Cruz said.

The report submitted by the Department of Revenue and Taxation to Cruz provides little information that is new, besides the amount paid by the three-game of chance vendors in taxes which is $15,151.28.

The report does not reveal how much was paid out in winnings to the gamblers who played at the House of Cards or the other games of chance. Neither the gross revenue figure or the net was required to be disclosed.

But at least the net can be calculated since the limited gaming tax of 4 percent on net revenues applied to the game of chance vendors. The net comes to about $378,000. Subtract the $15,000 on that amount and the vendors’ take-home pay was $363,000 … about $40,000 less than what they paid to win the bids to conduct the games. That’s how much the vendors would have earned, which is less than they paid for the right to run the games of chance at the liberation carnival this year.

“How much did they lose and why would they continue to do this unless they’re doing something else? Is it a money-laundering operation? Or are they not reporting all of their winnings?” Cruz asked.

If games of chance are allowed again next year, Cruz believes the law should be revised to allow for a full audit of the revenues earned and the wins paid out to the gamblers who took part.

“When we increased the BPT, we neglected to amend the section for the gaming. Do you believe it should be amended to apply to gaming? Yes. At the carnival? At least. On the net or the gross? I think it should be on the gross,” Cruz said.

##