Last-minute changes to the gaming amendment bill – which is expected to be passed by the Legislative Assembly (AL) shortly – include a 1 per cent tax hike on gross gaming receipts (GGR) to 40 per cent.
While the base rate of 35 per cent will not change, two additional levies to support cultural activities, infrastructure and other government and Macao Foundation programmes would rise to a combined 5 per cent from 4 per cent. However, operators may be exempted from the extra tax (up to 5 per cent) if they can manage to attract non-mainland Chinese customers.
Taxes for gaming operators in Macao compare sharply with Singapore, where tax rates are a maximum of 22 per cent if revenues are greater than US$2.3 billion.
Following the signing of the bill’s final draft, second standing committee chairman Chan Chak Mo said it could be sent to the AL as early as next week.
He added that the issue of satellite casinos had provoked the most discussion, as any changes to their operation would impact Macao’s economy.
“We have taken into account that if many satellite casinos cease operation, many people may lose their jobs,” he said.
Under the current proposals, casinos owned by independent investors may undergo a three-year transition period and must then either close or be taken over by one of the six prospective concessionaires; however there may be exceptions if approved by the Chief Executive.