Several gaming labour groups affiliated to the Macau Federation of Trade Unions – the largest local labour organisation – said in comments aired on Tuesday they feared for the employment prospects of workers at the city’s so-called satellite casinos, amid changes proposed for that market segment under Macau’s gaming law amendment bill.
The concerns were in a letter sent to the Legislative Assembly. The document was circulated to local media on Tuesday.
Macau satellites are venues controlled by independent investors, but respectively piggyback currently on the gaming licence of one of the existing concessionaires. Satellites will still be permitted under Macau’s proposed new regulatory system, but they will each be given a three-year grace period to tie the ownership of their gaming premises to any of the city’s six concessionaires, states the city’s gaming law amendment bill.
The labour groups’ letter frets that some satellite venue owners might pull out the market when faced with such a transition requirement, and that satellite-segment jobs might be lost as as result.
Currently, there are 18 operating satellite casinos in the city, with 14 of them tied to the gaming rights of concessionaire SJM Holdings Ltd. A further three are tied to Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. The other one is tied to Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
The Macau government has so far not given any indication on whether it might relax the proposed conditions for satellites: in particular, regarding waiving the casino-premises ownership condition. It has stirred much debate so far during the deliberation phase in the Legislative Assembly, on the draft bill.
Veteran local legislator Chan Chak Mo leads a Legislative Assembly committee tasked with scrutinising the draft bill. He reiterated to the local press on Tuesday that the assembly expected to give a final reading of the bill by June this year.
Following a Tuesday meeting with government officials, Mr Chan stated that Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong “did make clear that the government did not intend to see satellite casinos closing down, hence they have planned for the three-year grace period to deal with the issue.”
Mr Chan added: “The government’s hope is that the satellite gaming venues can… continue to run, in accordance with the new regulatory framework.”
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