Macau’s gaming tax drops to $3.69bn for 2020 due to lack of visitors

By Violeta Prockyte

Macau government expects to collect MOP29.46bn ($3.69bn) in taxes from the country’s casinos for 2020.

The sum was updated and dropped by 42% from the previous prediction of MOP45.5bn reported in April.

MOP26.29bn will come from direct tax based on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR). MOP210m in taxes is expected to come from junket operators 

According to the new revision of the budget for the current fiscal year, the government will use MOP8.1bn from its reserve to cover December’s expenses. Over the last 10 months, the government collected MOP24.35bn in taxes from the casino industry, a 74% year-on-year drop. 

The declining revenues can be attributed to the lack of tourists that visited Macau this year. Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, stated the total number of visitors in 2020 was less than 6m, an 85% decline compared to the prior year when the country had 39.4m visitors. 

Fernandes said: “It was a very difficult year. January was a very good month with 3 million visitors but the remaining 11 months didn’t even match that amount.”

The lack of visitation can be attributed to the global situation. Macau closed its casinos at the beginning of February, and the travel restrictions started in March. Currently, the restrictions have eased, especially with the reopening of the border with mainland China, but the visitations haven’t picked up yet.

“Christmas and New Year is not traditionally a travelling period for mainland Chinese so we don’t anticipate a very high number of bookings,” Fernandes added. 

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