The new legislation will replace the legislation that’s been in force since 2001, introducing several changes to increase the oversight of gaming concessionaires.
Macau.- Despite fears of a possible delay due to a new outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the city, Macau’s final draft gaming law amendment bill has been approved by the Legislative Assembly. It received 32 votes in favour and only one against.
The new law introduces several changes on the duration of casino licences, new taxes and increased oversight of gaming concessionaires. The bill allows up to six gaming concessions with a length of 10 years with the possibility of a 3-year extension.
It requires operators to pay a direct gaming tax of 35 per cent and a flat tax of 5 per cent for social welfare and urban development in Macau – an increase of 1 per cent. The 5 per cent indirect tax can be reduced if operators manage to attract more foreign players to their casinos.
Major changes require casinos to be run on assets owned by the gaming operators. However, authorities have extended the original three-year grace period to allow satellite casinos to resolve ownership issues.
Casino operators are also required to have a registered capital of at least MOP5bn during the validity of their licences. The concessionaire and anyone holding more than 5 per cent of the operator’s shares must not own, directly or indirectly, the capital of any other concessionaire.
The government will take into account the franchisee’s business activities, their investments in non-gaming elements and the overall economy of Macau when determining the number of gaming tables and slot machines allowed.
Casino operators could face fines of up to MOP5m (US$620,400) or even the revocation of licences if they fail to report major financial decisions that carry a value higher than the total investment input pledged in their concession contracts.
Macau casino operators welcome the new gaming bill
All six of Macau casino concessionaires have issued statements welcoming the approval of the bill by the Legislative Assembly.
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd said it will continue to fully support Macau’s sustainable development.
MGM China stated: “We wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Legislative Assembly and the Macau SAR government for their efforts in accomplishing the passage of the gaming law smoothly and successfully.”
SJM Holdings Ltd said it was confident in “the company’s continued future presence in Macau, in contribution to reinforcing Macau’s positioning as a world centre of tourism and leisure.”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai, Sands China president, said: “The company is once again very grateful to the SAR government for carrying out extensive consultations throughout the entire legislative process, which led to a consensus among the general public.”
Wynn Macau Ltd issued a statement praising the government and the Legislative Assembly for making efficient process and for collaborative engagement with all of the stakeholders.
As for Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, the company said that “it will continue to promote economic diversification to further strengthen Macau’s position as a world centre of tourism and leisure.”