Macau’s Chief Executive, Ho lat Seng, confirmed that 12 foreigner-only gaming zones have been launched by the city’s six casino operators. On Tuesday evening, before he embarked on his journey to Europe, Mr Ho held a public press conference at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge checkpoint. During the public event, Mr Ho was answering questions concerning the foreigner-only gaming areas, which were previously suggested by the government as a means of estimating the gross gaming revenue that was generated through international player wagers.
During his statement, Mr Ho added that the government was aware of the launch of the 12 gaming zones for foreigners. Each of Macau’s casino concessionaires had established gaming zones that were exclusively dedicated to foreigners. Mr Ho reported that the government was content with local gaming companies which were fulfilling their concession duties, including offering charter flights to foreign players who wish to visit Macau casinos. This requirement was implemented as part of concession pledges as international flights still have not resumed to their pre-pandemic state.
Recently, TAG Aviation Asia (Macau) boss reported that there have been several private jets hired by foreign visitors of Macau casinos. This came as a result of local casino operators opening their doors to visitors outside the Chinese mainland.
Prior to Mr Ho’s official press conference, it was already well-known that Macau’s six gaming operators had launched areas dedicated specifically to foreign players. This information was previously confirmed by several sources, including some of the gambling companies themselves.
Former Junket Rooms and Premium Gaming Areas Used for New Foreigner-Only Gaming Zones
The majority of the 12 foreigner-only gaming zones are located at former junket rooms or areas dedicated to premium players. Some of the speculated gaming areas are believed to be located at Galaxy Macau, MGM Cotai, MGM Macau, Studio City, City of Dreams, and the Venetian Macao. There has also been information about Wynn Macau Ltd, which operates the Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace casino resorts, using its former junket rooms for the launch of new foreigner-only gaming areas at each of the two properties.
Prior to this statement, the Grand Lisboa Palace was the only casino resort in Macau, which had confirmed the launch of a foreigner-only gaming area on the premises of its casino. The exclusive foreigner gaming area in the Cotai casino resort can be found at the casino’s “Dragon Pavilion”, which is the premium gaming area located within the property.
With the latest changes in Macau’s gaming regulations, which were linked to the new 10-year concessions that were issued at the beginning of this year, Macau’s Chief Executive was given the right to reduce gross gaming revenue (CGR) tax burden by up to 5%. This type of tax relief, however, would apply only to the GGR generated through foreign players.
The newly introduced regulatory measure is seen as a matter of “public interest” as the city is trying to revive its gaming industry thanks to foreign wagers rather than depending on high-roller stakes made by players from the Chinese mainland.