Macau’s casino regulator said in a Tuesday statement it pledged to safeguard a healthy workplace for the city’s gaming staff, and required the local casino operators to submit “independent, third-party” test reports of what it termed “gaming facilities”.
Local gaming labour activist group New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association claimed in comments to GGRAsia on Monday – prior to a worker march on pay and conditions held on Thursday (January 2) – that what it termed “casino chip attribution system” technology at live gaming tables in the city, might pose “health issues” to local casino dealers. That was understood to be a reference to radio-frequency identification (RFID) signals associated with such chip tracking equipment.
GGRAsia had then approached the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known by its Portuguese-language acronym DICJ, seeking comment on the topic.
DICJ said in the subsequent Tuesday statement, that it “attaches great importance to casino workers’ health”, and always aimed to ensure casino workplace “safety standards”.
The gaming regulator added: “Apart from assisting the relevant government departments in conducting regular checks on workplace safety compliance, the bureau also requires casino operators to submit independent, third-party test reports of the gaming facilities when approving such installations.”
The Tuesday statement also said the regulator conducted what it termed “spot checks” on equipment at the city’s gaming facilities – such as metal detectors, casino chips and card shuffling machines – in order to ensure the integrity of games as well as the safety of the gaming floor.
GGRAsia asked the gaming bureau via a follow-up enquiry, whether: the regulator had received any complaints regarding the perceived safety of casino chip attribution system technology – also known in the industry as CCAS; whether the bureau had discussed such a matter with the casino operators; and whether there was the possibility of any restriction being applied to the installation in Macau casinos of particular pieces of equipment. The regulator said it had nothing to add to its Tuesday statement.
Thursday’s pay and conditions march – organised by activist Cloee Chao and other members of New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association – claimed 500 participants according to the association. The city’s Public Security Police force estimated about 290 people took part in the march.
At the start of the rally, held in the late afternoon, Ms Chao told GGRAsia that the concerns of her organisation regarding workplace health and safety and CCAS had not been calmed by the DICJ’s Tuesday statement. She added her group would be seeking a meeting with the gaming bureau on the topic. The association also asked that the mentioned “third-party test reports” of “gaming facilities” be made public.
Thursday’s marchers carried with them copies of a letter listing other pay and conditions improvements demanded of local casino operators: a pay rise of no fewer than 5 percent; an annual bonus equal to two months of salary; an allowance for night shift work; and a housing-cost allowance. Copies of the letter were hand-delivered to three of Macau’s casino operators that have properties on the rally route, on the city’s peninsula. The other three operators will have a copy mailed to them, said the association.
(updated 7.03 pm)
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