Macau’s gaming regulator has asked casino operators in Macau to reduce temporarily by as much as 90 percent the number of on-duty workers staffing the city’s gaming floors, several local media outlets report. The cited request comes as the city fights its most serious Covid-19 outbreak since the pandemic began in early 2020.
According to media reports citing unidentified sources, Macau’s regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, told the city’s casino operators temporarily to cut to 10 percent of normal operating level the number of employees posted daily on their respective gaming floors. The reduction would reportedly be in place from Friday (July 1) until at least July 8.
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has yet to make any public announcement on the measure.
On Thursday the Macau government said it had dropped plans to introduce by Friday (July 1) a nucleic acid test certificate requirement with 48-hour validity for casino staff, casino customers and official visitors to those places. It had been aimed to prevent the risk of spreading Covid-19, but the government said that long queues of workers waiting at test centres had the potential to be a cross-infection hazard in itself.
Local gaming labour activist Cloee Chao confirmed to GGRAsia on Thursday evening that a number of frontline casino workers had been contacted by their respective employers offering them incentives to stay away from the workplace during the period July 1 to July 8.
According to a memo reportedly issued by casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd – and that was reproduced in a social media posting – the firm introduced a “special home leave programme” with a ‘7+1’ rule. It indicated that employees taking seven days of leave – either paid or unpaid –, would be offered by the firm one day of paid leave.
By the stroke of midnight on Thursday, the number of cases in the latest Macau outbreak had reached 638, an increase of 66 in 24 hours.
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"The six Macau casino operators should not be penalised for upping expenditure on player incentives, so long as their EBITDA margins are not materially diluted”
George Choi and Ryan Cheung
Analysts at Citigroup