Macau is willing to consider cutting as much as 5 percentage points from the aggregate effective tax rate on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR), if the city’s casino industry is able to bring in players from outside China, said on Friday a senior Macau legislator.
Chan Chak Mo made the comment on the sidelines of the Legislative Assembly, when explaining some Macau-government proposed adjustments to the city’s gaming law amendment bill currently passing through the assembly.
Macau’s GGR tax is 35 percent of the gross, but a further amount up to 5 percent is levied on the gross for social causes and other purposes.
Mr Chan said the city’s Chief Executive could – if it were deemed to be in the public interest in terms of enhancing the reach of Macau’s casino industry into “foreign” markets – fully or partially exempt casino operators from paying the up to 5 percent on the gross that is currently levied for social causes.
Government officials – including Lei Wai Nong, the city’s Secretary for Economy and Finance – present at Friday’s closed-doors committee meeting to discuss the bill, had not elaborated on how the scheme might work in practice when they were questioned about it by legislators, said Mr Chan.
Mr Lei left the Legislative Assembly without speaking to reporters, after today’s committee session.
Mr Chan did however say that the local government’s thinking with the latest proposal was that Macau has been over-reliant on mainland China as a source of gambling customers.
The legislator stated the government had noted the mainland authorities had lately been controlling cross-border gambling. The steps had included an amendment to China’s penal code, that outlaws the act of assisting in such activities.
Mr Chan said, citing a policy slogan of the city’s authorities: “Macau’s positioning is to be a world centre of tourism and leisure… Now it is time to expand into other, foreign markets.”
The gaming law amendment is due to be passed this year, ahead of an anticipated fresh public tender for Macau gaming rights. Under current Covid-19 countermeasures, foreigners without Macau ID are mostly barred from entering Macau. Some exceptions – including entry on public-interest grounds – are allowed.
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