The Studio City casino resort in Macau’s Cotai district has a foreigner-only gaming zone on the second floor of its Star Tower, GGRAsia confirmed following on-site checks at that property.
The complex (pictured), majority-owned by Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, has located such a zone near to the Lai Ying Club, the latter an own-brand location for premium players.
The existence of such a zone for overseas clients was affirmed by a variety of on-site staff. There were no visible signs to direct customers to the foreigner-only zone when GGRAsia visited the property on Friday.
But overseas clients are permitted to enter the foreigner gaming zone by showing their foreign passport and valid immigration declaration form, according to on-site checks.
GGRAsia understands from sources that Melco Resorts also has foreigner-only gambling space at its wholly-owned Macau flagship City of Dreams, also on Cotai. During a site visit on Friday, we were unable either to find evidence of directing signs for such space, or to obtain on-site verification.
Last week GGRAsia approached respectively Melco Resorts and the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, for comment on the situation regarding foreigner-only gaming space at Melco Resorts’ Macau properties. We had not received a response from either by the time this story went online.
At least two gambling zones for foreigners are already in operation respectively at the MGM Macau casino hotel and the MGM Cotai casino resort, both properties run by MGM China Holdings Ltd.
In late February, GGRAsia had reported – based on people with direct knowledge of the matter – that a gambling zone for foreigners was already in place at the Venetian Macao casino resort, run by Sands China Ltd.
Under the updated regulatory framework for Macau gaming, linked to the new 10-year concessions that started on January 1, the city’s chief executive has the authority to reduce by up to 5 percentage points casino operators’ tax burden on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by players from “foreign countries,” as a matter of “public interest”. The city wants to wean the industry away from dependence on high-stakes gambling by players from the Chinese mainland.
Under Macau’s updated regulatory system, the standard tax on casino GGR is 40 percent, which is 1 percentage point higher than the effective rate under the previous framework.
The definition of foreign patrons is mentioned in an administrative regulation on the Macau GGR tax-reduction topic. It defines customers from foreign countries as “those who enter the Macau SAR for tourism and commercial purposes, and who are holders of a travel document issued by a country or region outside the People’s Republic of China”.
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