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The Deputy Communications Director of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Malik Basintale, has urged the government to abolish betting and all forms of gaming in the country if it does not support young people engaging in such activities.

He suggested that the government should make its position on betting clear, as its reason for introducing the 10% tax does not sit well with the youth.

The introduction of the 10% betting tax, part of the government’s efforts to raise revenue, has been met with criticism and concern.

Malik Basintale raised concerns about the introduction of the 10% betting tax, lashing out at the government for being the biggest gambler.

Speaking on The Point of View, on Citi TV, Malik Basintale argued, “The Gaming Commission Act said gambling is a game of chance, and a game to have fun. The government that brought this Act can repeal it at any point in time. Government is the biggest gambler in the country. The government through the lotteries authority manages gambling in this country. The president appoints a CEO to gamble with the people of this country. The government doesn’t see the need to repeal that Act. The government doesn’t see the need to close down the entire lottery system. But they think that by imposing punitive taxes on this service, they will move a lot of people out of it.”

“How does this tax frighten any youth out of this betting? The 21 new taxes you introduced, was that your intention to frighten businesses? If you think you don’t support the position of young people in this country betting, then abolish it. So that we will know that you don’t like it, it should be clear, the moral definition or the moral explanation to this doesn’t fly for me because there’s a law backing it”.

He described it as “irresponsible” on the part of the government to suggest that its tax will draw a lot of young people out of the betting industry without the provision of alternatives.

“Your 10% tax means that go and bet, and when you win, give me 10%. And that is your idea of chicken people out of the betting industry. How irresponsible that thought can be, taxing betting is not a responsible measure of pushing people out of it. There are other alternatives you could choose from,” Malik Basintale pointed out.

The NDC Deputy Communications Officer further took a dig at the government for double taxing bettors, arguing that bettors are already being taxed through the e-levy.

He called on the government to allow the youth to make their own decisions about whether to engage in betting, emphasizing that betting is backed by law.

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“That factor of immorality should be left up to the individual’s reasoning.”

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