None of Macau’s six gaming concessionaires have so far applied for a form of “exemption” from the full 40-percent tax rate on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR), as potentially applicable – under the new concession system – to gambling by foreign players.
That is according to Lei Wai Nong (pictured, centre), Secretary for Economy and Finance, in response to a question from a member of the city’s Legislative Assembly this week.
Secretary Lei confirmed that the six operators had established areas specially for gambling by foreigners, across an aggregate of 12 casino properties.
But Chinese-language media outlet Macao Daily News reported Mr Lei as saying the six companies had “not yet applied for the exemption” of part of the GGR tax rate.
The Macau government has a policy of an up to 5-percentage-point rebate on Macau’s 40-percent GGR tax rate, for play generated by overseas players. GGRAsia has made several requests to the Macau government to clarify the specifics of how the system is to work.
Mr Lei noted in his reply at the Legislative Assembly that clear proof of entitlement to any reduction on GGR tax – linked to play by foreign customers – would need to be submitted by concessionaires.
As the matter related to Macau government revenue, it had to be “handled with caution”, the official reportedly said, according to Macao Daily News.
He added that the city’s government would continue to encourage the concession companies to provide high-quality services, enhance the international competitiveness of the industry, and attract diverse and high-quality visitors to come to Macau for gaming and recreation.
Robert Goldstein, chairman and chief executive of Macau operator Sands China Ltd – as well as the parent firm Las Vegas Sands Corp – recently told GGRAsia in an interview, that the format of available tax exemption had been clarified to his group by the local authorities, but was “not material” to the group’s business.
In early May, Wilfred Wong Ying Wai, president of Sands China, had told local media the company was eyeing to get a reduction on its tax burden, based on its work to attract foreign visitors to Macau.
“We are organising our overseas offices, expanding them, so that they recruit customers from Southeast Asia, Japan, [South] Korea,” Mr Wong told the television service of local public broadcaster TDM.
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