In line with the fast growth of Macau as a worldwide top gambling market, it’s Secretary of State for the Economy and Finance, Francis Tam, recently commented that he was confident that gross gaming revenues in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) could exceed 50 billion patacas USD 6.25 billion.
In 2005 revenues from the gambling sector totaled USD 5.8 billion, while gaming revenues totaled USD 5.9 billion. Gross revenues from the gaming sector in Macau at the end of the third quarter of this year, exceeded those of Las Vegas by USD 433 million, making the SAR the world’s biggest gaming and gambling center.
With the opening of another casino in Macau on December 23, owned by the Group headed by Stanley Ho, Macau now has 24 casinos.
The statistics recently issued by the Finance Services Bureau (FSB) showed that the gaming taxes accounted for 71.8 percent of the government total revenue in the period.
Macau’s 23 casinos (excluded the one recently opened) pay 35 percent of their gross receipts as direct tax to the government. The region, once a sleepy Portuguese colony in southern China with a population of 508,000, has a 150-year history of gaming industry and is the only part of China where casino gaming is legitimate.
The local government says it will use gambling revenues to improve public services and infrastructure, such as a planned light railway and free education. Already, gambling analysts are predicting that this year Macau will surpass Las Vegas’ annual gambling revenues of about seven billion dollars.