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Russia does u-turn on casino tax collection

Russia’s parliament has pushed through a law that will exempt casinos from the need to deduct taxes from their clients’ winnings.

The law was signed by President Vladimir Putin just before the year-end, when the legislation making casinos de-facto tax agents was due to come into force.

According to the new law, casinos are no longer obliged to collect taxes from gambling wins over R15,000 as gamblers themselves are supposed to do it. Bookmakers and totes, however, will not be exempt from the need to deduct taxes from their clients.

The prior legislation, which came alongside a potential doubling in the taxation rate, was seen as a bridge too far by operators in the country.

Summit Ascent Holdings’ Tigre de Cristal, the only property currently operating in the Primorye gambling zone, had threatened to suspend expansion work if it were forced to collect tax on client wins.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Ho, chairman of Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, has stepped down after earlier announcing the sale of his 17.4-percent stake in the firm.

Summit Ascent has already appointed Kuo Jen Hao as its new chairman, the firm said in a recent filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Kuo chairs Taiwan-listed shipping operator First Steamship Co Ltd, which recently announced that it intends to acquire a 12.67 per cent stake in Summit Ascent.


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