In Macau, a leading government official has reportedly detailed that the city has no intention of introducing temporary tax breaks to help local gambling firms recover from the financial impacts of the enclave’s recent 15-day casino shutdown and ongoing coronavirus slowdown.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, Lei Wai Nong (pictured) serves as the semi-autonomous city’s Economy and Finance Secretary and he made the revelation during a Thursday press conference as local aggregated gross gaming revenues for February were recorded as having plummeted by 87.8% year-on-year to stand at just $387.2 million.
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 with all of these properties reportedly required to pay a 35% gross gaming revenues tax. The government moreover purportedly imposes an annual duty of approximately $120 on every slot that is operated by a local casino alongside levies of around $37,400 for each VIP gaming table and about $18,700 for their mass-market counterparts.
The enclave took the drastic step of closing every one of its 39 active casinos from February 4 in order to help stop the spread of the highly-contagious coronavirus strain that remains rampant in neighboring China. Although all of these venues were allowed to partially re-open 15 days later, the boss for SJM Holdings Limited, Ambrose So Shu Fai, subsequently informally suggested that tax breaks could be helpful in assisting gambling firms to claw back some of their associated losses.
Lei reportedly declared…
“The gaming industry has had a good time in the past. In accordance with the current gaming law and regulations, gaming operators have to pay several taxes. Thus, tax concession for the gaming industry is related to relevant law amendments. We don’t have this kind of intention at this moment.”
Inside Asian Gaming reported that the government of Macau expects to record an unprecedented annual deficit for 2020 of approximately $5 million although Lei is said to have explained that the city’s gaming sector and associated retail, hotel, and restaurant businesses are expected to quickly recover once the threat of the coronavirus outbreak subsides.
The official reportedly told reporters…
“Once the situations in Macau and cities nearby are stabilized, I believe that tourists will come back soon. Macau will recover soon. Therefore, Macau has to do our best in preventive measures for not only our citizens but also to show tourists that we are safe.”