Singapore’s IR expansion plans delayed due to Covid-19

Authorities confirmed it is not possible to set a new timetable at least for now.
Authorities confirmed it is not possible to set a new timetable at least for now.

Alvin Tan Sheng Hui, Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, has said expansion plans of Singapore’s two integrated resorts will be delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Singapore.- The Covid-19 pandemic has haltered IR expansion plans in Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands and Resort World Sentosa had plans to expand their venues and both IRs were going to invest S$4.5bn on non-gaming facilities. In exchange, both companies could be allowed to add gaming space and extra gaming machines.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the new Omicron variant delayed plans according to Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Alvin Tan.

Both companies had planned to end expansion plans by 2025 but due to delays, it is still unknown if the companies will set a new timetable.

Last year, authorities announced the creation of a new gambling regulatory body in the country.

The proposed changes by the Ministry of Home Affairs included fines of up to $500,000 and seven years imprisonment for an operator of illegal gambling services.

Another amendment would allow physical social gambling among family and friends while online social gambling among families and friends would remain banned “due to the complexities of differentiation”.

The MHA also wants to introduce a prize cap of SGD100 (US$74) for mystery boxes, arcade games and claw machines arguing that this will be sufficient to address the inducement effect of high-value prizes, without increasing the regulatory burden on operators. 

The update to gambling laws in Singapore, also stated the casino exclusivity of the current two operators, will also be extended until the end of 2030 and will introduce a new tax system for gross gaming revenue (GGR).

Under the new system, which will come into effect in March this year, the annual tax rate on mass GGR will increase from a flat rate of 15 per cent to 18 per cent on the first SGD3.1bn in GGR collected by casino operators. 

Mass GGR exceeding SGD3.1bn will be taxed at 22 per cent.

Premium (or VIP) GGR is currently taxed in Singapore at a flat rate of 5 per cent. Under the new model, the first GGR of SGD2.4bn will be taxed at 8 per cent; premium GGR exceeding that figure will be taxed at 12 per cent.

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