With poker arcades and other gaming establishments remaining closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, operators of these businesses are now dismayed after receiving a Department of Finance notice reminding them that they are due to pay their business licenses and permit fees for the machines.
At the media briefing yesterday, Finance Secretary David Atalig said the department recently sent out a letter to all with expiring business licenses—and not just gaming companies—to remind them of their responsibilities to pay. He said his team at the Division of Revenue and Taxation, and Business License, sent out the reminders to all businesses with expiring licenses.
“We understand that the poker annual fees are due. We are sending out reminders that they are due,” he said. “Unfortunately, the pandemic and the [COVID-19 Task Force] directives are having them shut down, but that still does not relieve them of paying any of their fees or their business license so we sent out reminders to them, that their licenses must be paid, according to law.”
According to Atalig, he also received requests if the payments can be deferred, given not just the lack of tourists in the Commonwealth, but also due to the directive that prevents poker and gaming establishments from operating.
“I’ve received many letters of requests for deferred payment. Unfortunately, the law says it’s an annual fee and there is no deferment,” Atalig said. He said, though, said that his office is working with the Office of the Attorney General to address these concerns.
“We’re trying to work with the AG’s office, with our assistant attorney general. Hopefully, I can come back with any clarification, and updates on that matter,” he added.