In Macau, a local gaming expert has reportedly recommended that the government should consider lowering the tax rate on VIP gaming revenues in order to ensure that the city’s casino industry remains competitive with Asian rivals such as Singapore.
According to a report from GGRAsia, the advice came from Wang Changbin from the Gaming Teaching And Research Centre, which is a unit of the Macao Polytechnic Institute, and is being backed by Kwok Chi Chung, President of the Macau Association Of Gaming And Entertainment Promoters.
Wang moreover reportedly declared that Macau should contemplate lowering its overall gaming tax and impose different rates for mass-market and VIP gaming revenues, such as is the case in Singapore.
“The Macau government could look into Singapore’s model,” Wang told GGRAsia. “Considering the existing [gaming] tax rate [in Macau], the VIP sector here is actually at a disadvantage.”
Wang revealed that Singapore levies a 15% tax on all mass-market revenues and a 5% levy on VIP play while they are both subject to a 7% percent goods and services duty. He stated that this compares to Macau’s effective tax rate on gross gaming revenues of 39% and could lead to VIP patrons choosing to play elsewhere.
“Compared to mass-market play in Macau, VIP play faces much more competition from other nearby jurisdictions,” Wang told GGRAsia. “[Chinese] VIP players are highly mobile [and] they can head anywhere in the world.”
In a note published in October of 2014, Fitch Ratings Incorporated reportedly explained that Singapore’s “accommodating” gaming tax had been positive for the local casino industry and had been fixed at current rates until at least 2022.
“For junkets, we can have more room for profit under a model like this with a more accommodating tax rate,” Kwok told GGRAsia. “This can attract more junkets to the Macau VIP segment and they, in turn, can attract more investors.”
GGRAsia reported that the VIP tax in the Philippines is equivalent to 15% of a casino’s gross gaming revenues while South Korea has imposed a similar duty set at 20% but the government of Macau has yet to mention plans for a revamp its current system. Lionel Leong Vai Tac, Economy And Finance Secretary for the former Portuguese enclave, stated a year ago that his office would only consider such changes after a “mid-term review” of the sector, the results of which were published in May.