owever, the number may climb even further, as gaming taxes collected by the government – which account for more than 80 % of the government’s total revenue – may reach us$ 12.68 billion this year, said analysts quoted by Portuguese news agency Lusa.
The total casino gross gaming revenue for the nine months ended September soared 45.9 % year-on-year to us$ 23.8 billion. In the third quarter alone, gross gaming revenue rose 48.2 percent from a year earlier to us$ 8.6 billion. Analysts say that if the industry follows the same trend in the fourth quarter, local gaming operators will close 2011 with gross gaming revenue over us$ 34 billion.
If analyst forecasts are right, the SAR Government will collect us$ 12.68 billion in direct and indirect taxes from gaming this year, which alone represents us$ 4 billion more than the official forecast for the MSAR public revenue over the entire year. According to analyst calculations, the administration will raise us$ 11.3 billion in direct gaming taxes, which is set at 35 percent, and us$ 1.29 billion from indirect taxes, another 4 percent. Moreover, casino operators are expected to post a new record in revenue this month spurred by the Golden Week period, which may lead to higher revenue at the end of the year. In the first nine days of October, local casinos raked in more than us$ 1.32 billion in revenue.
“It’s obvious that the [gaming] revenue may be higher, but being cautious and working with the figures at hand, we can only do a calculation based on the results from the last [third] quarter,” analysts told Lusa, adding that the forecast may only fall short for being “too conservative”. In the meantime, secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen said Tuesday that he sees no need to increase the cap on the number of gaming tables announced last year.
The government set a gaming table restriction of 5,500 units until 2013. Macau added 142 new gaming tables in the third quarter this year, for a total of 5,379 units. The government’s table cap implies there is now room to add only 121 new gaming tables between now and 2013.
“We said last year that the number of gaming tables will be maintained at 5,500 [until 2013]. It is still our goal to maintain that number and we are still on target,” said Tam, adding that “we don’t see any reason to change it.”The official also said the average growth in the number of gaming tables will be kept at three percent annually in the decade after 2013.
Experts speaking to the Macau Daily Times last month said that this restriction is likely to push casino operators towards electronic tables, since there are currently no plans to limit the number of electronic tables or slot machines, according to the local gaming regulator.