Leading Macau junket business Suncity Group has confirmed to GGRAsia that its senior managers are to have their pay cut as the brand addresses the financial impact of the novel coronavirus emergency on its VIP gambling business.
The pay cuts – a voluntary initiative which covers a two-month period – applies to Suncity Group’s Macau-based VIP operations’ management personnel at “assistant director and above”, a Suncity Group spokesperson confirmed to GGRAsia in an email. The scale of such cuts was not specified, not the precise time frame.
The junket firm also told us that employees within its Macau-based VIP operations will need to take some unpaid leave. For any 30-day period off they elect to take during April and May, they will only be paid for half of it.
The news comes against the background of the Macau government’s firm stance in asking the casino sector to avoid where possible redundancies during the coronavirus-influenced downturn. The local authorities have previously urged the city’s six gaming licensees to fulfil their “social responsibilities” by not imposing lay-offs or forcing pay cuts since the onset of an unprecedented 15-day shutdown of casinos in early February.
In recent commentary to GGRAsia, Kwok Chi Chung, the president of the Macau Association of Gaming And Entertainment Promoters – a trade body for the junket sector – said its members had been trying “their best” to answer the Macau government’s call.
But Mr Kwok highlighted the mounting operational challenges that the Macau junket sector had been encountering, as visitor numbers to the VIP gaming rooms had been greatly reduced amid the ongoing virus alert. He also highlighted the possibility of a scaling down in the number of VIP gaming rooms amongst bigger local junket operators, while small scale VIP gaming operators in the city might close their business.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group