The Macau government estimates the city’s 2023 casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) will be MOP130 billion (US$16.08 billion), it said in the 2023 fiscal year budget proposal published on Friday.
It nonetheless expects a fiscal deficit for 2023, with aggregate income – including from a near-40-percent on gaming revenue – at MOP69.5 billion, excluding any drawing of fiscal reserves. Its estimates aggregate expenses for 2023 will be MOP104.5 billion. The government is set to include MOP35.6 billion from its fiscal reserve to cover the revenue shortfall, it said.
“The impact of [Covid-19] pandemic persists through 2022, resulting in a difference between the estimated casino gross gaming revenue and the actual numbers,” the government stated, referring to an earlier miss on the GGR forecast for the current year.
Though the Office of the Chief Executive stated in the 2023 budget plan, lodged with the city’s Legislative Assembly, and looking to likely improvements in 2023 for the tourism trade: “Following the gradual resumption of package tours from mainland China and the electronic issuance of travel permits, which is to benefit the tourism sector, the number of Macau-bound visitors will rebound.”
The office added: “Based on that, the casino gross gaming revenue for the fiscal year 2023 is estimated at MOP130 billion.”
To date, the Macau government has yet to publish a revision to its initial estimate on the city’s casino GGR for 2022, which had also been MOP130 billion. In the nine months to October 31, the GGR tally was MOP35.7 billion, compared with nearly MOP72.2 billion for the same period of 2021.
But it lowered its forecast for gaming tax for full-year 2022 to MOP34.37 billion, from a previous forecast of just under MOP49.76 billion. The government is expecting to collect in 2023 about MOP45.5 billion in direct taxes on gaming.
The latest budget plan flagged macroeconomic challenges for 2023.
Though it noted: “There are several positive factors, including the central government’s aid to Macau… especially its support in having the resumption of electronic issuance of travel visas [for mainland Chinese travellers] to visit Macau, and the gradual resumption of package tours from ‘Four Provinces and One City”. That was a reference to tour groups from Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Shanghai.
The paper added: “Also, the amended Legal Regime for the Operation of Games of Fortune or Chance in Casinos has been implemented. Next year, the new casino concessionaires will, in accordance to their promises made in their bids, develop and promote non-gaming elements, providing a new opportunity in the integrated tourism sector.”
That was a reference to the ongoing public tender process for up to six, 10-year new gaming concessions in the city.
The document added: “These positive factors can gradually help diminish the negative impact and uncertainties of the [Covid-19] pandemic, and drive Macau’s economy to be sustainable in a healthy fashion.”
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