Casinos in the Cotai Strip district of Macau need to address transportation issues and allow visiting players to more easily move between properties if they are to help increase their mass-market appeal.
This is the opinion of Davis Fong, Director for the University Of Macau’s The Institute For The Study Of Commercial Gaming, while he also revealed in a recent interview with the Macau Business Daily that he supports the imposition of a full ban on casino employees being around gaming tables when they are not at work.
Fong stated that the under-construction Macau Light Rapid Transit system will be good to bring potential mass-market players into the Cotai Strip area but that this should not be the only strategy. He explained that the area could handle up to 30 million tourists a day but that these will need a better transportation method for moving between area attractions such as its many casinos.
“We should connect all the properties together in a proper way so that we can help the people to move from one property to another,” Fong told the newspaper. “This is a good time for the six operators to sit down together and think about connectivity [in order] to make a so-called all-weather around-the-clock connection [between] all the casinos together in the Cotai [Strip] area. Connecting all the Cotai [Strip] area [via] walking around-the-clock with air conditioning; this is the most important because we have rainy days, summer and, most important, humidity.”
Fong additionally declared that he is a supporter of proposed legislation that would prohibit casino employees from playing table games because he believes that up to 30% of these workers could be susceptible to developing a gambling addiction.
“From [Social Welfare Bureau] statistics we understand that around 30% of real cases [of problem gambling] are from gaming employees,” Fong told the newspaper. “They’re the risky group.”
As only Macau residents can work as casino dealers, Fong moreover detailed that those who may be distressed by gambling problems could directly affect the local economy and society for the worse.
“[It is] not just the gaming employees as we are also talking about the families because it’s not like drugs or smoking where you kill yourself [as with] gambling you kill your family,” Fong told the Macau Business Daily.
Furthermore, Fong explained that dealers’ minds may actually become conditioned to like gambling due to the nature of the games while he revealed that such a ban had been in place before liberalization took place in 2001.
“You’re eight hours inside there, in a game, gambling with the guests together simultaneously,” Fong told the newspaper. “So that’s the most risky thing. Our brains are actually dominated by most of the gambling activities every day, eight hours a day, and it may become a part of your brain. [It is] very risky. Before the handover, the old Sociedade De Turismo E Diversoes De Macau (STDM) operator actually prohibited its staff from gambling inside its casinos. This is not new but after casino liberalization the government forgot about changing the rules because at that time there was only one casino [licensee] but now it’s six.”