Gaming taxes on the VIP segment in Malaysia will likely be subject to a 20% tax from 1 January 2019, easing fears of a massive hike from its current level of 10% to 35%, according to UOB KayHian Research.
The research house released its prediction in a research note this week after conducting channel checks, adding that a 20% tax rate on VIP put it in line with Genting Group’s original prediction of a 10% tax hike and easing investor concerns.
Earlier this month, Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed the fee increase to be imposed on Genting Malaysia during his budget speech, with the annual casino license fee to rise from MYR120 million (US$28.8 million) to MYR150 million (US$36 million) and the tax on gross gaming income to jump from 25% to 35%.
Genting Malaysia subsequently stated that it “is assessing the full implications of the additional taxes and will take the appropriate next course of action which includes a review of its marketing expenditure and cost structure to mitigate the impact of the tax increases.”
Commenting on the revised VIP tax figure, UOB KayHian Research said this week, “Given that the negative impact from the gaming tax hike has been fairly priced in, and with the lower-than-initially expected VIP gaming tax serving as a pleasant surprise, investors may now refocus on Genting Group’s catalysts in 2019.”
The update is also expected to positively impact the share price of Genting Malaysia, which has fallen 20% since the Finance Minister’s budget speech, and Genting Berhad which has fallen by around 3%.
“We continue to expect Genting Malaysia to conduct cost-cutting measures to mitigate the impact of the tax hike,” the research house said. “However, we have revised down our assumption of the annual 2019-2020 cost cut from MYR200 million to MYR100 million.”