Macau lawmaker Jose Maria Pereira Coutinho has urged the enclave government to legalise online gambling in order to help overcome the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Macau should introduce interactive gaming. The Macau SAR government should establish official standards and regulations on interactive gaming, and develop interactive gaming software together, in order to increase revenue from gaming tax and to further develop gaming industries,” Coutinho said.
Gross gaming revenue in Macau is down 81.6% January through August, casino win totalling roughly $4.5 billion. The six licensed casino operators in the Chinese Special Administrative Region won approximately $24.8 billion during the same eight months in 2019.
Taxes from casino gambling account for nearly 90% of Macau’s government revenue. With the money plummeting due to the coronavirus, and the enclave largely isolating itself from the rest of the world, including the mainland, Coutinho believes taking casinos online is a viable remedy.