On June 21st, 2022, the Legislative Assembly of Macau passed the discussed changes in the Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) gambling legislation into law. Local lawmakers reached an almost unanimous agreement on the new pieces of legislation, with only one member of the Assembly disagreeing with a single clause of the amendments.
All of the proposed changes were thoroughly discussed by the members of the Macau Legislative Assembly one more time, taking into consideration each article individually. After the final discussions, they voted and gave the green light to Macau’s new gambling laws, with a total of 32 members supporting the piece of legislation and only one voting against it.
As mentioned above, only one person – Ron Lam U Tou – disagreed with one of the proposed amendment’s clauses. He voted against Article 22(3) of the new gambling law, as he has shared some concerns regarding the safety and social security of the proposed amendments.
The controversial clause – Article 22(3) of the law – concerns the proposed tax breaks for local license holders. Under the Article, concessionaires who manage to successfully attract foreign customers will see their gross gaming revenue (GGR) levies cut by 5%. In addition, the reduction will not affect the 35% special gaming tax but it is set to cut the 3% levy that is currently provided by the gambling operators to the city, its social security projects and local tourism development, and the 2% levy that is currently paid by companies to the Macau Foundation.
Only One Legislative Assembly Member Votes Against a Clause of the Gambling Law
The Legislative Assembly member who voted against the proposed change has shared that gambling operators would undoubtedly be able to attract foreign visitors. Mr. Lam, however, believes that the authorities should not waive the 3% levy, because such a move would have a negative effect on social security causes and the Macau residents as a whole.
The city’s secretary for economy and finance, Lei Wai Nong, however, noted that the latest amendments to the SAR’s gambling legislation would have a positive effect, as the benefits of attracting more foreign visitors will outweigh the negatives that would originate from such a move. Furthermore, the economy and finance secretary of Macau explained that the Government has other laws that will help local authorities maintain social security even without the revenue generated by the Macau gambling license holders.
Lei also promised that the Macau Government will take into consideration the potential inclusion of social responsibility provisions for bidders in the upcoming re-tendering process.
As CasinoGamesPro already reported, the gambling industry in Macau is currently struggling with the negative impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the economy, with the sector also being seriously affected by the so-called “zero-Covid” policy of the Chinese Government. As a result of all the difficulties, the local gambling operators have seen a significant decline in their revenue. Although the Government of the special administrative region has tried to keep local casinos operational amid mass coronavirus testing, the GGR has continued to decline.
Many analysts believe that the local gambling and casino sector will manage to recover from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closures associated with it.