The Macau government collected a total of MOP16.95 billion (US$2.12 billion) in direct taxes from gaming in the first two months of 2015, down by 24.0 percent year-on-year, according to data disclosed by the city’s Financial Services Bureau.
Direct taxes from gaming in February alone reached MOP8.46 billion, as the monthly gaming revenue tally stood below MOP20 billion for the first time in four years, according to official data.
It was the ninth month of consecutive monthly year-on-year decline in Macau gaming revenue.
Overall, the figures show a 25.2 percent year-on-year decrease in government revenue for the first two months of 2015. The total revenue for the January-February period was MOP20.16 billion, about MOP6.78 billion less than that of a year ago.
Direct taxes from gaming brought in 84.1 percent of the Macau government’s total revenue in the two months to February 28.
Due to the decline in revenue, the Macau government surplus fell by 29.8 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2015 to MOP15.76 billion.
The lacklustre performance is a consequence of declining gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the city. Accumulated GGR for the first two months of 2015 stands 35.1 percent lower than in the same period in 2014, at MOP43.3 billion.
The Macau government levies a special gaming tax on casino GGR at the rate of 35 percent. It also collects about 4 percent of the gross in indirect taxes for social and promotional purposes, as well as a levy on each gaming machine, live dealer table and VIP room.
Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On has said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the city’s economic development. Speaking to reporters a fortnight ago, Mr Chui said the government has been cautious about this year’s budget due to the expected slowdown in casino GGR.
Macau’s chief executive will give his policy address for 2015 on March 23.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group