Macau’s six casino operators donated an aggregate HKD1.56 billion (US$198.9 million) to charity organisations between 2011 and 2017, according to a study by the Institute for Social and Cultural Research at the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST).
Such aggregate amount was equal to 0.085 percent of those companies combined gross revenue during the reporting period, said on Tuesday the authors of the study in a press conference. They said the findings were based on information made available in the companies’ respective annual reports and official websites, as well as on media reports.
The donations were mainly directed to education, scientific research, environmental protection, and disaster relief, stated the report.
The amount donated to charities by the city’s six casino concessionaires declined by an annual average of 6.48 percent between 2011 and 2017, said Lin Guangzhi, director of the Institute for Social and Cultural Research, in the press briefing. He added that the findings of the study showed that there was room for the casino operators to increase their donations to charity causes, as well as to update their respective policies regarding donations.
According to the document, the firms’ donations to charities followed the trend of gross gaming revenue (GGR) performance in the Macau market. Such GGR underwent a three-year contraction starting in 2014.
The report stated that Wynn Macau Ltd, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Sands China Ltd were the biggest contributors during the reporting period, donating respectively HKD745.8 million, HKD430.1 million and HKD117.4 million.
The tally of casino operator donations “can be increased, and it should be done in a more effective way,” suggested Prof. Lin, as quoted by Portuguese-language newspaper Jornal Tribuna de Macau.
The scholar added that the city’s casino operators could wish to consider a more methodical and efficient approach to charitable donations.
“The casino operators should create their own departments to oversee charitable donations, including long-term mechanisms and a more professional approach,” he reportedly said.
Macau already levies an effective tax rate of 39 percent on casino GGR – 35 percent in direct government tax, and the remainder in a number of levies to pay for a range of community good causes.
MUST is currently conducting one of two studies commissioned from outside bodies by the Macau government on the possible development of the city’s gaming sector in the period between 2020 and 2030. That start of that period coincides with the expiry of the current six gaming licences on the Macau market.
According to the government, one study would look at social and economic issues, and the other at “healthy development” of the industry and regional competition. The studies are due to be completed by the third quarter of 2018.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China