New Regulatory Regime in Macau to Limit Slot Machine and Table Game Number to 12,000 and 6,000, Respectively

For the first time, casinos in Macau will face a limit on the number of slot machines and table games they are allowed to collectively offer across the gaming floors of the special administrative region (SAR).

The gambling licenses for the companies that operate the six Macau casinos are set to expire on January 1st, 2023. According to expectations, the local Government will issue fresh tenders to the six concessioners before their current permits expire. Previously, local lawmakers have decided to slash the 20-year casino license terms in half, meaning the new licenses will offer privileges for 10 years only. Another major change is that Macau authorities will limit the total allotment of gaming positions in the local gambling industry.

A few days ago, the Government of the special administrative region revealed that local casinos would be limited to operating 12,000 slots and 6,000 table games. Macau lawmakers decided to impose a certain limit on the number of gaming positions for the 10-year period between 2023 and 2033 in an effort to tackle the risks associated with the casino industry and to keep the sector’s and region’s healthy development as a whole.

At the end of 2021, there was a total of 11,758 slots and 6,198 table games at the six casino operators’ properties in Macau. For the time being, baccarat remains the most popular form of casino table game in many Asian gaming markets, including Macau. It seems that the recent limitations imposed on the sector have made quality more important than quantity. Only 2 years prior, there were 17,000 slot machines and 6,700 table games in Macau casinos.

Macau Authorities Trying to Make the SAR Less Dependent on the Gambling Industry

Local lawmakers handed Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng the task of deciding what minimum gaming tax to be imposed per machine and table, with the changes set to be imposed under the next regulatory regime. The top Government official noted that a relatively light minimum tax is set to be imposed on the industry.

Reportedly, Mr. Ho decided to require each table game to generate gross gaming revenue of at least MOP7 million on an annual basis, while each slot machine would be required to win at least MOP300,000 a year. In case local casinos take advantage of the full allotment of slot machines and table games in the region, the minimum gross gaming revenue requirement per seat/machine would be estimated at full-year revenue of about MOP 45.6 billion. The gaming industry in the special administrative region is just ahead of the forthcoming minimum tax pace in the first seven months of 2022.

According to analysts, 2022 is likely to be the worst year for the gambling industry of Macau since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The gross gaming revenue for the period from January to July 2022 is estimated at a total of $3.28 billion. In comparison, the first seven months of 2020 brought GGR worth $4.32 billion, while in 2021 Macau casinos won over $7 billion.

As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, Macau lawmakers are hoping to make the region less dependent on casino gambling in the years ahead, so they have been considering ways to diversify the economy of the special administrative region since before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The Covid-19 outbreak only made the need for the local Government to find new tax sources at a time when casino venues were forced to stop operation during the health crisis.