The Macau government’s take from direct taxes on gaming dropped 10.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, show provisional data disclosed on Friday by the city’s Financial Services Bureau.
The city collected MOP58.40 billion (US$7.30 billion) in fiscal revenues from direct taxes on gaming between January and September. That compares with MOP65.25 billion collected in the same period of 2015. The 2016 full-year take is tracking to be the smallest since 2010.
Direct taxes from gaming brought in 78.9 percent of the Macau government’s total revenue in the first nine months of 2016.
Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) rose 7.4 percent year-on-year in September, to MOP18.40 billion, announced on October 1 the local regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The result marked only the second time in 28 months that monthly revenue had not contracted, judged year-on-year. The improvement began in August, when monthly casino GGR expanded by 1.1 percent after 26 straight months of decline.
Following the two consecutive months of GGR expansion judged year-on-year, there has been some optimism among operators and investors that the market might at least be stabilising. Two senior executives of casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd said earlier this month that Macau’s gaming sector was starting to show some sustained performance in October. MGM China Holdings Ltd co-chairperson Pansy Ho Chiu King said during the weekend that Macau’s casino sector was showing signs of stabilisation.
For the nine months to September 30, Macau’s aggregate casino GGR was MOP162.79 billion, a shrinkage of 7.5 percent from the prior-year period.
Macau 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.
The Macau government fiscal surplus for the January-September period was down by 33.1 percent year-on-year to MOP21.4 billion.
The Macau government forecasts GGR to come in at MOP200 billion in 2016, an average of MOP16.6 billion per month. The government has said it expects to collect a total of MOP70 billion in fiscal revenue from direct taxes on gaming this year, and a budget surplus of MOP3.5 billion.
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Lawrence Ho Yau Lung
Chairman of casino operator Melco Resorts