Singapore Confirms Casino Duopoly To 2030, Raises Taxes

January 11, 2022
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The Singaporean parliament has codified a 2019 announcement that Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore will control the city-state’s casino market until at least 2030 while paying higher gaming taxes.

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The Singaporean parliament has codified a 2019 announcement that Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore will control the city-state’s casino market until at least 2030, while paying higher gaming taxes.

Lawmakers on Monday passed the Gambling Duties Act 2022, a piece of legislation that primarily replaces the Betting and Sweepstake Duties Act 1950, but also amends the Casino Control Act 2006 to increase taxes and retain the casino duopoly until December 31, 2030.

The formal reintroduction of the duopoly, which technically expired in 2017, was flagged in 2019 when the government approved a combined S$9bn ($6.6bn) expansion of gaming and non-gaming attractions at the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa integrated resort precincts.

That government deal with Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore included a two-tier tax reform for mass and premium gross gaming revenue (GGR), to be applied from March 1, 2022, as well as an immediate 50 percent hike in entry levies.

Formerly taxed at 15 percent, mass market GGR will now be taxed at 18 percent for the first S$3.1bn in annual revenue and at 22 percent beyond that figure.

Premium (VIP) revenue, formerly taxed at 5 percent, will now be taxed at 8 percent for the first S$2.4bn of GGR and at 12 percent in excess of that figure.

These tax rates are in force as long as the casino operator “meets the targets relevant to the development of the facilities and services” of its integrated resort, according to the act.

If the targets are not met, the lower tier of tax is forfeited and default GGR tax rates of 22 percent and 12 percent apply to mass and premium GGR, respectively.

During parliamentary debate on Monday, the government said expansion of the two integrated resorts is suffering delays because of coronavirus pandemic impacts, reiterating comments by trade and industry minister Gan Kim Yong in parliament on November 2.

Minister of state for trade and industry Alvin Tan said the pandemic is affecting the construction industry, adding: “This is not altogether surprising, nor unique to this project or this industry.”

Tan said the casino operators are committed to their S$4.5bn expansion programs and that the integrated resorts are preparing for the time when the pandemic recedes and visitation recovers.

"Most of the [expansion] offerings are catered towards tourism and towards developing this capability for when tourism and travel resume.

“And we must be prepared to take that uplift and to carry that wind when it comes,” he said.

The 2019 deal did not specify an increase in gaming table allotments in return for billions of dollars in investment.

However, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa will be permitted to expand their approved gaming areas by 2,000 square metres and 500 square metres, respectively.

Marina Bay Sands will also be allowed to expand its electronic gaming machine (EGM) inventory from 2,500 to 3,500, while Resorts World Sentosa will increase its EGM supply from 2,500 to 3,300.

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