Enforcement of the mooted ban on Macau casino employees entering any local gaming floor outside work hours will be the responsibility of casino operators via monitoring by their security staff, rather than via use of “technological measures” – at least at first – the local gaming regulator has told GGRAsia.
“In the future, we’ll consider establishing a hotline [for reporting purposes]; and in the long run, we’ll also consider the adoption of technological measures in assisting the enforcement of the [proposed] law,” said the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – also known as DICJ in the Portuguese acronym – in an emailed statement in response to our enquiry.
The gaming bureau didn’t clarify what such “technological measures” might be. On Tuesday, Lei Man Chao, deputy director of Macau gaming labour grouping Professional for Gaming of New Macau, told us the government ought to consider a casino entry levy for Macau residents. Only holders of Macau ID can be dealers in the city’s casinos under current rules set by the local government.
Singapore imposes a levy on its citizens and residents wishing to use the two casino resorts there, and requires production of an identity document for all people wishing to enter the gaming areas of the two places. Japan is to impose a levy on locals for its nascent casino industry and says it will use the country’s citizen number identification regime – known as the “My Number Card” system – to verify the identity of locals entering casinos.
Macau casino investor Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, a suitor for a Japan casino licence, has proposed using its proprietary identity check system MelGuard – including facial recognition technology – as a safeguard in any resort it is allowed to build there.
The aggregate number of Macau gaming workers at risk from problem gambling outside work hours is unclear from publicly-disclosed information. According to figures mentioned in March by Macau’s Social Affairs Bureau, of 157 requests for assistance in 2017 regarding problem gambling, approximately 30 percent of cases involved casino employees.
Macau had in total 57,207 people employed in the gaming sector by the fourth quarter of 2017, according to latest available data from the city’s Statistics and Census Service. In the period, there were 24,453 table games dealers working in the city’s casinos, the official data showed.
The Macau government proposes that any designated casino worker detected on a local casino’s gaming floor outside working hours would be liable to a fine of between MOP1,000 (US$125) and MOP10,000.
The government’s bill envisages Macau casino workers being allowed to gamble in local casinos only on the first three days of the Chinese New Year holiday period. Casino workers would also be permitted to step onto gaming floors outside work hours if it were related to “learning” – understood to be a reference to professional training or education – or if “participating in an association’s event”. The meaning of the latter phrase is yet to be clarified.
Some staff not directly involved with gaming operations – including cage staff, food and beverage outlet workers, cleaners and those connected to surveillance operations – will also be included in the ban.
Speaking on Friday at an event organised by the city’s Executive Council to announce the legislative proposal, Paulo Martins Chan, director of the gaming regulator, said it would post on its official website the list of casino resort job positions covered by the proposed new casino entry rules.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China