Discussion over gaming tax rates in Macau has prompted the director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) to announce the possibility of amending existing casino taxation laws. Such an amendment would occur before the casino license renewal period due in the next decade.
DICJ director, Paulo Martins Chan, said that the government would review any changes to gaming tax rates after considering both public opinion and voices from the gaming sector itself. He told public broadcaster TDM that any change would have to be “beneficial to Macau’s gaming sector.”
“At the moment, we do not have any specific plan [for a change in tax rates] but we are open to listening to the opinions of the sector,” he said, as cited by the broadcaster. “There’s still time until the license renewals for us to listen to the community.”
The casino licenses granted to the concessionaires in Macau are due to expire between 2020 and 2022, depending on the operator.
The statements from the government come in response to discussion over whether gaming taxation should be amended.
Some industry leaders have argued that it ought to be reduced to fend off emerging competition from other locations in East Asia, notably Japan, Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Russia. They argue that Macau could lose its edge to low-taxation jurisdictions.
The region has one of the highest gaming taxation rates in the world, with a direct tax rate of 35 per cent and an effective tax rate of 39 per cent on gross gaming revenue, including various levies. The direct taxation alone is responsible for bringing in the bulk of government revenue.
Some voices in the community have argued the contrary – that gaming taxation should be increased – while others still say differentiation is possible between the VIP and mass markets.