Macau’s Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said Friday that Macau needs to generate MOP$230 billion (US$28.5 billion) in gaming revenue next year for the government to avoid falling into budget deficit. This means at least MOP19.2 billion (US$2.38 billion) in GGR is needed every month on average.
Answering questions during a session at the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Ho said, “The 2024 budget is being designed, but it is expected that next year’s budget will still be a deficit budget. That is to say, even if there is MOP$200 billion (US$24.8 billion) in gaming revenue, there will still be a deficit, and there will have to be at least MOP$230 billion in gaming revenue to balance the budget.”
He added, “Macau’s other tax revenues are really low. Personal income tax has a rebate program, small and medium-sized enterprises have tax incentives, and real estate transactions are on the low side.”
With gaming still comprising the majority of the Macau government’s tax revenue, Ho said there was around MOP$100 billion (US$12.4 billion) in rigid expenditure required by the government each year, not including any additional items.
“It is not even possible to reduce it by a single cent,” he explained.
However, he acknowledged that this year’s gaming revenue will be higher than previous government estimates of MOP$130 billion – likely around MOP$200 billion – although 2023 would still result in a deficit economy. The government would no longer be in deficit by 2025, he added.
Pre-COVID, Macau’s gaming revenues last fell below MOP$230 billion in 2016, when the impact of mainland China’s anti-corruption measures seeing GGR fall to MOP$223.2 billion (US$27.6 billion) following 26 consecutive months of declining revenues. Macau did not fall into budget deficit that year.
Separately, Ho responded to legislator questions around whether or not employees of Macau’s gaming concessionaires would receive a pay rise in 2023, stating that the government would not order gaming operators to increase salaries, that the government should not intervene in the market economy, and that the government will only discuss such options directly with operators.