Macau’s legislative committee has made amendments to the country’s gambling reform bill. This new version of the bill, would give the region’s Chief Executive, power to grant tax breaks to businesses, if it believes that it will help attract foreign customers.
The bill which is now set to be voted upon, for the last time before it may become law, provided that “The Chief Executive may, after consulting the Bureau of Gaming Supervision [DICJ], grant a reduction or exemption to the concessionaires in the payment of the contributions…, for reasons of public interest, namely for reasons for expanding customer markets in foreign countries.”
The bill aside from the above provision, also includes a tax increase, which will see businesses pay up to 3% of GGR towards urban development, tourism promotion and social security in addition to their current 35% gaming tax rate. Gaming concessionaires in Macau is also subject to a tax of up to 2% of GGR for promotion, development or study of cultural, social, economic, educational, scientific, academic and philanthropic causes.
In practice, all operators pay below these upper limits, however, the new version of the reform bill, fails to add the phrase “up to”, which means that operators will effectively be subject to higher taxes than before.
The new version of the law also kept many of the same major points, from earlier versions; like the number of the operators in the market, which will still remain six concessionaires and no subconcessionaires.
Concessionaires in the country will also face new limits, in relation to the number of gaming machines and tables they may operate, with these limits based off of GGR per machine or table; though the exact GGR minimums have not yet been set.
At the same time, the Legislative Assembly is also considering another bill that deals specifically with junkets. This bill would introduce requirements such as a maximum commission cap, and was approved at the first reading in April. In addition, junket businesses will only be allowed to work with one concessionaire each.
Work on the gaming reform bill began last year, with a consultation that considered major changes to the market.