The Macau government collected nearly MOP604.2 million (US$76.8 million) in tax revenue from the city’s gaming industry in September. The figure was down 1.5 percent compared to August, showed official data published on Friday by the city’s Financial Services Bureau.
The tax-take figures in a given calendar period, and the city’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in such a time frame, are not directly comparable for a number of reasons. They include the fact that there is typically a delay between the point where GGR is recorded in Macau casino operations, and the point at which tax is registered by the Macau government as having been paid on such play.
The budget data published on Friday showed the government collected just above MOP23.41 billion in tax from the city’s gaming industry in the nine months to September, down 72.7 percent from the prior-year period. In a revised budget for 2020, the government had forecast it would collect on average at least MOP4.16 billion in gaming tax on a monthly basis.
Aggregate Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first nine months of 2020 stood at approximately MOP38.61 billion, a contraction of 82.5 percent year-on-year, showed official data.
The latest budget figures showed the tax sum collected so far this year from the gaming sector was 46.8 percent of the amount the government had budgeted for the whole year, according to its revised budget. The government had forecast it would collect nearly MOP49.98 billion in gaming-related taxes in full-year 2020.
The government taxes the GGR of Macau casinos at a rate of 35 percent, but other levies on casino gaming gross raise the tax rate to 39 percent in effect. Other taxes on the Macau gambling sector include levies on the income of Chinese traditional lotteries, on horse racing, instant lotteries and tax on commissions earned by operators of gambling junkets.
The latest official data also indicated that revenue from gaming collected so far in 2020 accounted for about 69.9 percent of the MOP33.51-billion tax revenue the government collected from all sources. The latter figure was down 65.9 percent from the prior-year period.
Despite the decline in aggregate revenue, the government had recorded a surplus of just above MOP16.30 billion up to September 30, thanks to an increase in so-called “other capital revenue” in recent months.
Macau’s Chief Executive said earlier this month that the government was planning to shift from its fiscal reserve a total of MOP20 billion in order to cover expenses relating with its budget for 2020. He said the government would submit in November to the Legislative Assembly a second revision to its budget for fiscal-year 2020, in order to cover spending for the period from November to December.
A first revision to the budget, submitted in April, involved an additional MOP40 billion. In the April revision, the government halved its forecast for annual income during 2020 from the gaming sector, to MOP130 billion from MOP260 billion, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Shirley Yang
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein