The government for the casino-laden enclave of Macau has reportedly warned that there seems to be no immediate end in sight to the ongoing local gaming tax shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Thursday report from Inside Asian Gaming, this revelation came during a Legislative Assembly meeting convened with a view to amending the city’s ongoing annual budget as its casino pool begins partially re-opening following a two-week lockdown at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic. The source detailed that the former Portuguese enclave earlier forecast that it would collect around $6.15 billion in combined 2022 taxes from gambling but recently saw its first-quarter figure decline by 4.8% year-on-year to approximately $1.08 billion.
Macau is home to some of the world’s largest and most famous gambling venues including the iconic Casino Grand Lisboa from SJM Holdings Limited as well as Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited’s $3.2 billion Studio City Macau. All of these operations are reportedly required to pay a 35% gross gaming revenues tax alongside smaller duties for every live dealer table, gaming machine and VIP room they operate to take their effective rate up to around 39%.
In response to this persistent tax slowdown and Macau’s Economy and Finance Secretary, Lei Wai Nong, reportedly disclosed that the local government has tapped almost $1.81 billion of its reserves this year in order to assuage an ongoing fiscal shortfall. The figure purportedly declared that his administration also expects to release $1.23 billion financial support packages ‘many more times’ as the city continues to struggle through its coronavirus-induced economic slowdown.
Lei reportedly pronounced…
“The government has used $4.34 billion in fiscal reserves of which around $1.81 billion was to cover the shortfall in Macau special gaming tax collections and another $1.23 billion was to provide financial assistance.”
Inside Asian Gaming reported that the Legislative Assembly meeting saw numerous local representatives question the government over whether its financial support programs were actually proving helpful to the local population. One of these, Jose Maria Pereira Coutinho, purportedly proclaimed that the enclave’s population is ‘very well behaved’ and has dutifully followed the official rules on coronavirus but are simultaneously struggling with ‘zero deposits’.
In response and Lei reportedly asserted that the coronavirus-related financial assistance packages from the government of Macau are being targeted at ‘employees and businesses’ with the city’s reserves currently standing at something like $68.92 billion.
Lei reportedly asserted…
“The financial assistance is targeted at employees and businesses and the government will provide further assistance amounting to $1.23 billion, which is currently being prepared. This outbreak will not be the last and we will use $1.23 billion many more times.”