The Macau Legislative Assembly's Second Standing Committee met today with various government representatives, including the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, and the Director of the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), Adriano Ho, to discuss the amendment of Law 16/2001, also known as the "Macau Gaming Law." During the meeting, government officials explained the revised text of the Macau Gaming Law to Legislative Council members, as well as the government's plans to introduce tax breaks to encourage the recruitment of "foreign" customers to bet in Macau's casinos. In this context, "foreign" refers to customers from outside Greater China, which includes the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
"Initially, the government hopes the concessionaires will start recruiting foreign customers," Committee Chairman Andrew Chan Chak Mo said at a press conference following the meeting between The Second Standing Committee and government representatives. "If they bring in foreign customers who contribute to the gaming tax collected by the Macau government, the government can, based on its data and the advice of the Gaming Commission (CESJFA), decide how much to reduce the tax by."
The CESJFA is made up of the Chief Executive, the Secretaries of State for Economy, Finance, Administration, and Justice, as well as the Director of the Department of Justice and other senior government officials. It conducts research on the gaming industry's future development and management and formulates gaming policies in Macau.
The main reason for the amendment, according to Chan, is that offshore gaming laws in mainland China have tightened, making it "difficult" for mainland visitors to come to Macau to gamble. Macau's government also wants to establish itself as a global tourism and leisure hub.
The government is proposing to reduce one or both of two other compulsory charges levied under Article 22 of the Macau Gaming Law, rather than the special gaming tax of 35 percent levied on gross gaming revenue.
The first is a contribution of not more than 2% of GGR (currently 1.6%) to a public foundation that promotes, develops, or studies cultural, social, economic, educational, scientific, academic, and charitable activities — currently the Macao Foundation.
The second mandatory charge is a yearly amount not to exceed 3% of GGR for the development of the city, promotion of tourism, and provision of social security. SJM, which pays 1.4 percent in recognition of various community initiatives such as annually dredging the waterway between Macau peninsular and Taipa, is the exception.
By fLEXI tEAM