tanley Ho and several gaming operators have been asking the Government to consider rebating a certain amount of gaming tax, in order to enhance competitiveness in the market as well as to curb any regional competition.
Current gaming tax in Macau stands at 35 % of the gross income, plus a maximum of 5 % of contribution to support Macau’s construction, social security and the Macau Foundation. Gaming taxes in Macau are very high, Luis Pessanha admitted but he said there is no reason to lower them in a medium term.
“It’s natural that operators, as an interested party, want a lower tax burden. It’s also true that the gaming tax burden in Macau is comparatively high. Therefore, it is reasonable that operators would defend such a measure, specially because they also are looking to Singapore as a potential market that can compete with Macau,” he said.
However, he continued, “considering the public interest of the Government, from my point of view it is not appropriate to reduce the gaming taxes yet”. He said this was because of the florescent figures of the gaming revenues in Macau.
“It is perhaps not the moment you feel clearly a need for a reduction. Figures suggest that the market is healthy and that gaming operators can live well with a high tax burden. We have to wait and see if in a medium term Singapore will have an impact on our market or not,” he explained.
Luis Pessanha was speaking on the sidelines of the “First seminar on gaming operations and gaming licensing”, organised by the Faculty of Law of the University of Macau.
In the first quarter of the year, the direct taxes from gaming in Macau totalled us$ 1.7 billion, which represent 85.9 % of total revenue or 86.3 % of current revenues. That means a 58.6 % increase comparing to the first quarter of last year and 40.3 % of the execution foreseen for the 12 months of the year.
Meanwhile, in April, revenue spiked to a new record high of more than us$ 1.17 billion. This figure, quoted by Lusa news agency, represents a 70 % increase from the us$ 1 billion registered in April 2009. It was the second time in 2010 that the MSAR casinos set a new monthly record after last January saw the industry’s revenue soar to us$ 1.7 billion.