Macau Casino Workers Barred From Entering Gaming Floors Off-Hours

Posted on: October 17, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: October 16, 2019, 12:07h.

Macau casino employees won’t be permitted to enter their workplaces when not on the job, according to a new law going into effect on December 27, 2019.

Macau casino workers gaming dealer
Once their shift ends, Macau casino workers will soon be required to leave the gaming space. (Image: Bloomberg)

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – stylized DICJ – recently met with the six licensed casino operators to inform them of the regulatory change. The amendment is to the enclave’s Gaming Participation Law, which mandates who is allowed on the casino floors throughout the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Beginning December 27, anyone employed by a casino in a gaming operational role, as well as casino cashiers and cage staff and floor security, food and beverage servers, and cleaners, will be prohibited from accessing the gaming space when not on the clock.

The gaming regulator said it will “continue to promote multi-channel publicity to ensure that gaming workers understand the new law prohibiting entry into the casino, and will also maintain close ties with the industry to jointly promote responsible gambling and better protect the physical and mental health of gaming workers.”

The DICJ says the condition will impact 54,000 Macau casino staffers, which includes 8,000 junket workers.

The only time casino workers will be permitted entry off-hours will be the first three days of the Lunar New Year, as well as for work-related activities.

Changing Environment

The six Macau casino concessionaires will all see their licenses expire in 2022. Little is known how the issuing of new permits will progress, but gaming industry analysts expect Sands, Wynn, MGM, Melco, Galaxy, and SJM all to receive refreshed operating privileges.

The DICJ is seeking to improve its gaming industry with better regulatory safeguards to combat money laundering and problem gambling, but at the same time, allowing the world’s richest casino hub to grow.

Macau’s local government, however, wants to reduce its reliance on gaming taxes, which currently account for nearly 90 percent of the government’s budget.

Macau is in the process of trying to launch its own stock market. The government is also expected to issue incentives to the casino giants that encourages them to invest in non-gaming projects, such as convention space and theme parks.

Union Demands

With the industry undergoing a shift away from the VIP high roller to more of the mass market, and the governing regulatory conditions being reconsidered, casino workers are voicing their opinions, too.

Last month, reported that Macau casino workers want better holiday schedules, a five-day work week standard, and healthier workplaces that are free of smoke. The industry’s union – the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association – said its members surprisingly aren’t seeking higher wages, but better work-life conditions.

It is actually quite a surprise to us that most respondents have chosen topics related to a healthy working environment, rather than salary increments,” union Vice Director Jeremy Lei explained.

The union sent its list of wishes to incoming Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng. He will assume office on December 20, the 20th anniversary of Macau’s return from Portuguese to Chinese control.