A total of 147 people registered in 2015 with Macau’s ‘Central Registry System of Individuals with Gambling Disorder’, according to the annual report on the registry, issued by the city’s Social Welfare Bureau. About 20 percent of the employed people seeking government help are casino dealers, the report showed.
“Within [the group of] help-seekers who stated they are employed, about 20 percent of them work as ‘dealer/croupier’,” stated the report.
The government’s centralised system aims to gather statistical information about the problem gamblers that seek help, in a bid to understand their gambling habits and behaviour.
The 2015 report showed that of the people registered in the centralised system, half work on shifts.
Official data released in March showed that nearly 90 percent of Macau gaming staff – defined as people involved in gaming and junket activities – was doing shift work.
Most of the problem gamblers said their casino game of choice was baccarat, followed by slot machines and sic bo, according to the latest report.
About 80 percent of these problem gamblers had debts, the report showed. Among those in debt, 60 percent stated that their debts amounted to MOP100,000 (US$12,513) or more.
The head of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, the city’s gaming regulator, has mentioned the possibility of introducing rules banning gaming workers from casino floors outside work hours.
Two Macau gaming labour groups have said they would support such ban, adding that the move could help curb problem gambling among casino employees, particularly card dealers. Currently, casino operators in Macau typically bar their own workers from gambling in their own workplace, whether off-duty or on-duty.
The director of local casino labour group Power of the Macao Gaming Association, Lei Iok Po, told GGRAsia in an interview last week that casino dealers “are much more prone to this condition [of becoming problem gamblers] because they are very exposed to casino table gambling”.
The city’s civil servants are only authorised to gamble in casinos during the Chinese New Year holiday period.
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