Gaming tax collected in 2021 only 62 pct of Gov’t estimates as of Nov

The Macau SAR has collected a total of MOP31.2 billion (US$3.8 billion) in gaming tax, or about 62 per cent of the total MOP50 billion authorities had estimated for the year.

Local authorities predicted the year would end with a total of MOP130 billion in gross gaming revenue, however, after outbreaks in the SAR and the mainland continued to impact visitor numbers, combined with the continuing shrinking of the VIP market pool, total results reached MOP78.9 billion by November, some 60 per cent of what was expected.

Gaming taxes collected between January and November of this year were 15 per cent higher than during the same period last year.

The government taxes the gross gaming revenue of Macau casinos at a rate of 35 per cent, with other levies raising the effective tax rate to 39 per cent, however, delays in result reporting and tax collected do not allow for a direct timeline comparison.

The local administration has also repeated the MOP130 billion estimate in gross gaming revenues for 2022, expecting some MOP45.5 billion in gaming taxes.

The reduction in gaming tax revenue has led authorities to resort to MOP90.8 billion from the extraordinary financial reserve since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 to balance the local budget after advancing with several economic stimuli and support policies.

Overall, the SAR administration has a total of MOP46.8 billion in current revenue – which includes gaming taxes – and MOP39.3 billion in capital revenues – which includes money injected from the local financial reserve – for a total of MOP86.2 billion in revenue.

At the same time, government budget expenses amounted to MOP75.3 billion, of which MOP44 billion were directed to financial support to counter the economic impact of the pandemic.

Despite the downturn, the Macau SAR 2022 public budget proposes the continuation of several fiscal deductions and exemption policies, subsidies, cash handouts and adds two new tax exemptions for investment funds and donations for flooding relief in mainland China.

Including a cash injection from the fiscal reserve, authorities estimate they will report revenues of MOP100 billion and MOP99.4 billion in expenses in 2022, with both seeing a 4.5 per cent increase from the previous year.