Macau yearly tax collection above estimates

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Macau yearly tax collection above estimates

The Macau government has collected almost US$13 billion in tax revenue from the city’s gaming industry so far this year.

GGR Asia reports that figure is flat compared to the prior-year period, but above the tax the government forecast it could collect in the full calendar year.

Aggregate Macau casino gross gaming revenue in 2019 stood at MOP262.62 billion, a 2.4 per cent drop on year-on-year data.

The government taxes the gross gaming revenue of Macau casinos at a rate of 35 per cent, but other levies on the casino gaming gross raise the tax rate to 39 per cent.

Other taxes on the Macau gambling sector include levies on the income of Chinese traditional lotteries, horse racing, instant lotteries and tax on commissions earned by operators of gambling junkets.

The tax-take figures in a given calendar period and the city’s casino gross gaming revenue in such a time frame are not comparable for a number of reasons.

They include the fact there is a delay in the point the gross gaming revenue is recorded in Macau casino operations, and the point at which tax is registered by the Macau government as having been paid on such play.

Macau’s Financial Services Bureau releases the tax data to show the health of the city’s finances.

The tax figures published last week showed the tax sum collected so far this year from the gaming industry was 105.9 per cent of the amount the government had budgeted for the whole year.

The latest official data also indicated that revenue from gaming collected so far in 2019 accounted for 85.8 per cent of the monies the government collected from all sources.

In calculating its budget, the Macau government tends to be conservative when estimate its revenue taken from gaming.

The authorities had budgeted for a fiscal surplus of just above MOP18.06 billion for the whole of 2019.

At the end of November, its surplus was MOP55.38, according to official figures.

Macau Casino fined $1.25m for breaches

A three-year joint investigation by the Washington State Gambling Commission and the Tukwila Police Department, Macau Casino has agreed to pay a US$1.25 million penalty for loansharking and money laundering operation at two of its casinos.

The payments will partially reimburse the commission for costs incurred during the three-year investigation and act as a deterrent to other casinos.

ICLG reported in November that the investigation concerned activities at Macau Casino’s Lakewood and Tukwila locations, which revealed that a female employee was working with co-conspirators to buy-in on games.

She would enter the casino with bags full of US$20 bills which were given to her accomplices, who then played in the casino for a “brief period” before cashing out for US$100 bills, according to the investigation.

Cash and chips were loaned to customers, with a charge of 10 to 15 per cent.

She targeted employees and patrons who were earning minimum wage and who “clearly had gambling problems.”

The high interest loans were made to about 100 players and casino workers.

The scheme led to the alleged laundering of $1.5 million via the casinos.

The female suspect has been charged with money laundering, unlawful debt and use of extortionate means to collect extensions of credit.

The two casino owners have been prohibited from participating in future gambling activities in Washington, while seven employees have had their licenses revoked, with four more revocations pending.

“This penalty sends a message to those involved in the investigation, as well as others in the industry,” Washington State Gambling Commission Director Dave Trujillo said.

“We will take necessary steps to keep the criminal element out of licensed gambling facilities.”

Washington State embroiled in numerous recent crime incidents

Washington State was also the scene of recent alleged crimes at other casinos.

In September this year, a thief stole $13,000 from a Shoreline, Washington casino after he crawled into an unlocked safe.

Also in September, Pasco’s Crazy Moose Casino lost more than $38,000 to Frederick Nolan – a card player who allegedly improperly switched cards at least 38 times over several weeks – while playing high card flush.

The Crazy Moose incidents allegedly took place between December 9, 2018 and January 18, 2019.

The total loss to the casino was approximately $38,335.

In September, the Prosecutor’s Office charged Nolan with first-degree theft and second-degree cheating.

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