Featured in this article:
  • Macau's government to set minimum bet levels on each game
  • Casinos must pay the difference if they fall short
  • New measures ensure Macau earns minimum tax revenues from casino industry

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The Macau Gambling Cap will make casinos more efficient with their games

Macau’s government has outlined a novel approach to incentivizing its casinos to rake in more money from players, but applying a minimum bet level to every table game and machine.

Macau is rewriting its casino laws ahead of a new round of licensing agreements that will come into effect in 2023.

The South China Sea territory is home to six global casino brands – Sands China, Wynn Macau (1128.HK), Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China (2282.HK), SJM Holdings and Melco Resorts – all of which are applying for new 10-year licenses.

As part of the licensing agreement, the government has opted to rewrite certain rules around regulations, standards and marketing. The aim is to attract more foreign tourists to Macau from countries other than China, to stem the tide of yuan leaving the country via gambling.

But authorities also want to make sure Macau’s casinos run as effectively as possible.

And that’s resulted in fresh stipulations regarding table and game limits, as well as minimum income levels per operator.

Macau table games

Macau table games are hugely popular but will now need to meet minimum bet levels

Macau Gambling Cap

According to the Macau government, casino operators will be limited to a total of 12,000 gaming machines and 6,000 gaming tables from next year.

Reuters report that it is the first time there has been a formal cap placed on table and machine limits in Macau. The aim, apparently, is to “tighten control of casino operators who raked in $36bn in 2019, before COVID-19 disruptions.”

Yet on top of this, each operator must meet an annual gross income level from each gaming table and machine. These minimum levels are:

  • $866,122 per gaming table
  • $37,120 per gaming machine

In effect, it means each gaming machine in Macau must make $100 every day to meet the cap. A gaming table must make more than $2,300 daily.

Last year Macau had 6,198 gaming tables and 11,758 machines operating. Previous regulations allowed for a 3 percent annual growth on tables and machines, but now a fresh cap will be put in operation.

Why Is Macau Doing This?

In a statement, the government said: “The new gaming operation from early next year will … cap the total amount of all gaming tables and gaming machines to ensure orderly and healthy development.”

The aim is to reduce the number of tables but ensure the takings per casino remains steady. In doing so, Macau hopes to secure a “minimum gross revenue guarantee” and therefore a minimum tax revenue for the government. Any casino that falls short of its minimum tax will pay the rest.

But the measures come at a difficult time for Macau’s casinos. They have already had to stomach a change in licensing and are also struggling under fresh waves of Covid-19 in the region.

China’s “Zero Covid” policy has sent thousands of people into lockdown across the territory, while it takes tourists 10 days to visit – including a seven-day stopover in mainland China.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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