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Naga announces $1B gaming revenue

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A view of NagaWorld building yesterday. Pha Lina

Naga announces $1B gaming revenue

NagaWorld saw the largest growth in its VIP operations, where “rollings” – a term which refers to the amount bet by gamblers – increased by 128 per cent to $25 billion for the first three quarters of this year.

Its parent company, Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp Ltd, released its third quarterly report on Monday, showing a 94 per cent increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR) to $1.07 billion.

Mass market table buy-ins were up 57 per cent to $887.6 million while electronic gaming machine (EGM) bills-in rose 22 per cent to $1.6 billion.

NagaCorp chairman Timothy Patrick McNally said the opening of Naga 2 in November last year significantly increased the appeal, range and quality of Mass Gaming, Non-Gaming and VIP offerings.

The NagaWorld Complex – comprising of Naga 1 and Naga 2 – is connected via an underground shopping mall known as the NagaCity Walk.

“The group is in the advanced stages of planning for the development of a Naga 3. Based on feedback from stakeholders, the group is confident that additional capacity is necessary to further fuel business growth (in gaming and non-gaming) to position the group as one of the most successful integrated resorts in Asia.”

No information was given on where Naga 3 will be built.

NagaCorp’s quarterly report did not reveal profits during the nine months. However, its 2017 report showed that NagaWorld earned a net profit of $255.2 million last year.

Last year, NagaCorp reported paying $8.12 million in income tax while its gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the same year was $926 million – an effective tax rate of 0.87 per cent based on the company’s GGR.

Cambodia has one of the lowest effective tax rates in the world for casinos. A 2015 report from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that Macau had a 35 per cent tax on GGR, while Australia had a rate of between 10 and 45 per cent. Singapore imposed between five and 15 per cent.

The deputy director-general of the MEF’s Finance Industry Department, Ros Phirun, said yesterday that although casino laws in Cambodia have not been finalised, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) collects tax revenue from them based on the target determined in national budget law.

Phirun did not release the amount of tax revenue collected from the gambling sector last year but said it achieved 96 per cent of the target. He said there are 133 licensed casinos in Cambodia, of which nearly half are in Preah Sihanouk province.

“Currently, the draft law is at the Council of Ministers. After the law is finalised and put in place for implementation, we hope that tax collection revenue from the gambling sector will increase,” he said.

San Chey, the executive director of the NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said increasing revenue of the casino business should not be welcome news, but instead a worrying trend of social risk.

“I don’t believe yet that the tax collection revenue from casino businesses has been contributing to a solution of the issue. More revenue from gambling means more taxes, but do we really get more tax revenue?” he asked.

Of the increasing number of casinos in Preah Sihanouk province, Chey said there is a lot of negative impact due to the increase in gamblers.

If law enforcement is not strong enough, the social impact of the increasing revenue of casino businesses is also a cause for concern, he said.

“We always wonder that behind the massive increase in casino business revenue, who are the losers? What is the negative impact on our society?”

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