Macau reports 74% drop in gaming taxes for 2020

By Violeta Prockyte

Macau government’s tax collection from the gaming industry dropped by 74% year-on-year to MOP29.81bn ($3.73bn) for 2020.

Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the year was MOP60.44bn, a 79% drop. Such decline in earnings was attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Financial Services Bureau said the most successful months were January and November to December. 

The government receives taxes from the city’s casinos, Chinese traditional lotteries and horse racing. Junket operators also have to pay taxes for their commissions. Casino GGR has one of the highest taxes placed on it with approximately 39%, according to GGRAsia. 

The start of 2021 doesn’t look promising either. The Golden Week, a celebration of Chinese New Year, only brought 90,615 visitors to the city, a 65% decline from 261,069 in 2020 and an even bigger drop from 1.21m that arrived into the city in 2019. Mainland China reportedly suffered from new virus outbreaks and the citizens were encouraged to stay in place. 

Macau hopes to restart Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) electronic visa with the mainland, which would allow for more seamless travel. IVS visa process was resumed in September 2020, but the process of application is in-person, limiting the number of applicants.

Macao Government Tourism Office director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said the digital application would increase visitor numbers significantly. 

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