The government of Macau introduced Friday a piece of legislation that calls for banning casino workers from entering gaming facilities beyond working hours, local news outlets report. The measure aims to curb problem gambling among those employed at the city’s gambling venues.
Aside from table games dealers and workers tending to slot machines across casinos, people less directly involved with the actual gaming operations will, too, be barred from visiting gaming floors outside work hours, under the newly proposed legislation. Maintenance and security staff, employees at public relations areas, food and beverage staff, as well as workers at cashier’s offices will all not be admitted to any gaming floors outside their designated working hours.
The first three days of the Lunar New Year and training or related activities would be the only exception to the newly proposed rule.
To better prevent workers from breaching the new law, in case it gains enough support among Macau legislators, authors of the legislative piece have included a penalties language. Workers who breach the rules will thus be fined between MOP1,000 and MOP10,000, depending on the scope of their violations.
The new legislation will now be reviewed in the Macau Legislative Assembly. It is yet to be seen when the piece will be voted on.
Under the proposed bill, individuals that are unauthorized to visit casino floors, including casino staff outside work hours, will have their winnings seized by authorities, once they are found to be breaching the rules.
Problem Gambling Concerns
Macau legislators explained that the new legislation aims to curb rising rates of problem gamblers among casino staff. According a 2016 report by the Macau Central Registry System of Problem Gamblers, around a third of all problem gamblers who had sought help in the period between 2011 and 2016 had been employed in the city’s casino gambling industry.
A separate report from 2017 showed that around 157 people registered with the city’s Central Registry System of Individuals with Gambling Disorder last year. The figure represented an 11% increase from a year earlier. In addition, around 10% of all registered gamblers identified themselves as dealers/croupiers.
The new legislation is hoped to curb the temptation to gamble that casino staff members might experience as result from the fact that they are employed in the industry. According to experts, many of them believe they can beat the house due to their knowledge and experience.
News about the new curbs at Macau’s gaming floors came as the city is on a winning gross gambling revenue streak after two and a half years of massive revenue declines caused by an all-encompassing anti-graft campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Macau’s casinos generated a total of MOP127.7 billion (approximately $15.8 billion) during the first five months of the year, up 20.1% year-on-year and seem to be on track to meet some analysts’ forecasts about a double-digit annual growth.