At least two gambling zones for foreigners are already in operation respectively at the MGM Macau casino hotel and the MGM Cotai casino resort, both properties run by MGM China Holdings Ltd, GGRAsia has learnt. Both zones – dubbed as for ‘international gaming’ (signage pictured) – were launched in the final part of February, said people familiar with the matter, but who asked not to be identified.
The MGM Macau gambling zone for foreigners is situated within a non-main floor area, on the second floor of the property. The same happens with the MGM Cotai zone, located on the first floor of the resort.
GGRAsia has approached MGM China for clarification on the operational terms for its foreigner gambling areas.
GGRAsia also sought comment from the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, on what steps had been required to allow the areas to open.
Both areas include baccarat gaming tables and their own respective cages. Each is located close to areas dedicated either to direct VIP gambling or to junket rooms.
Those wishing to gamble at the gambling zones for foreigners at either MGM Macau or MGM Cotai are required to present a passport or travel document, and the respective arrival card issued by the Macau authorities, thus proving their entitlement to “foreigner” designation.
As reported by GGRAsia last month, a gambling zone for foreigners was already in place at the Venetian Macao casino resort, run by Sands China Ltd. According to further information gathered by GGRAsia, patrons can gamble there either using cash or by establishing a rolling chip programme with Sands China.
Under the updated regulatory framework for Macau gaming, linked to the new 10-year concessions that started on January 1, the city’s chief executive has the authority to reduce by up to 5 percentage points casino operators’ tax burden on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by players from “foreign countries,” as a matter of “public interest”. The city wants to wean the industry away from dependence on high-stakes gambling by players from the Chinese mainland.
Under Macau’s updated regulatory system, the standard tax on casino GGR is 40 percent, which is 1 percentage point higher than the effective rate under the previous framework.
The definition of foreign patrons is mentioned in an administrative regulation on the Macau GGR tax-reduction topic. It defines customers from foreign countries as “those who enter the Macau SAR for tourism and commercial purposes, and who are holders of a travel document issued by a country or region outside the People’s Republic of China”.
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