Singapore’s Parliament has released a new Gambling Duties Bill meant to streamline the country’s gambling regulations. The amendments to the current Casino Control Act were originally discussed in 2019 as part of the Tourism Board’s agreement with operators Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore. The talks targeted the expansion of the operators’ integrated resorts (IR), World Sentosa, and Marina Bay Sands.
Important Changes Brought by the New Gambling Duties Bill
Following the initial talk, the freshly released Bill includes an amendment regarding the expansion of the exclusivity period for the two IRs until 2030. Another important amendment refers to the introduction of a new system of taxes based on tiers. According to the new taxing system, the current 15% tax set on mass gaming will be increased by three percent, reaching 18% for the first US$2.29 billion in gross gaming revenue and 22% for gross gaming revenues going over this limit.
As for premium gaming revenues with a current 5% tax on them, they would also be increased to 8% for the first $2.29 billion and reach 12% for any amount going over this limit. Premium gaming revenue is defined as revenue derived from players that have around $74,000 in deposits with a certain casino.
The 2019 agreements attracted a 50% increase to the entry-level for local players. The levy for 24-hour periods went from $74 to $110, while the levy for 12-month periods went from $1,400 to $2,200. As per the newly expanded exclusivity period for casino licenses, tax rates in the country should not undergo any additional changes until 2032.
The Pandemic May Affect IR’s Construction Deadlines
Some voices raised concerns regarding potential construction delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last July, when the consultation for the new Gambling Law Reform started, LVS President and COO Patrick Dumont expressed his concern that the company may not be able to meet the 2025 deadline. The MBS expansion would cost $3.3 billion, and it would include a fourth hotel tower. The country’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Alvin Tan, referred to the potential delays as “not altogether surprising,” referring to the way the pandemic has left its mark on many timelines worldwide.
Tan also emphasized how important it is for all involved parties to proceed with the plans for expansion, with the IRs staying committed to the new projects. The expansions will be extremely helpful once travel resumes in Singapore, taking the uplift and catering to passionate gamblers eager to travel.