Ahead of Chinese New Year, casino workers in Macau may have to work overtime due to increased consumer demand following a three-year calm due to COVID-19, throughout which some gaming staff received promotions in other departments, according to one of the workers representatives.
Due to advancement of existing workers, there are not enough workers to cover all required positions just in time for the Chinese New Year.
Chance of a large volume of work before Chinese New Year:
Looking at the possibility of increased workload for Chinese New Year, Lei lok Po, director of the Power of Macau Gaming Working Group, said: “From what we understood, gaming staff of some of the Cotai resorts – such as Galaxy Macau and Venetian Macao – have already been told to stand by for overtime shifts for the Chinese New Year period.”
The two most important iGaming provider brands and resorts based in Macau, Galaxy Macau, operated by Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and Venetian Macau, operated by Sands China Ltd. facilities in Cotai district made a comment regarding the workload of their workers for the Chinese New Year.
When asked to comment on the statement of the labor representative Mr. Lei regarding employers’ requests for overtime, one of the companies said in an email response that it “complies with all labor laws and regulations of the Macau SAR government, including when assigning workload to our gaming floor team members to meet operational needs during the Chinese New Year holiday.”
Macau’s annual casino worker shortage:
Commenting on the possible shortage of workers in the necessary positions, Cloee Chao Sao Fong, head of local gaming labor activist group New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, said: “In the past two years and so, there had been many cases of table game staff assigned to other departments, like security or cage operation, when gaming floor traffic was weak.”
“Now these table game staff are needed again – but it would take time for them to be reassigned to their original duties, not to mention that some of them might not want to return to [that role] yet.
“[Staff] hands do appear quite tight for the gaming floors for this Chinese New Year period.”
Increased tourism due to lifting of COVID measures:
Following the lifting of COVID measures in early January, Macau expects the number of daily tourists to reach its peak of 60,000 just in time for the Chinese New Year. However, people are still required to wear masks when attending any public event, according to local health authorities.
In this regard, the head of Macau Tourism, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, said: “Daily visitors to Macau could peak at 60,000 during Chinese New Year, although a number of gaming industry analysts caution that visitor volume by itself, is neither a proxy for, nor an especially accurate predictor of, Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) performance.”
Holiday vacation canceled for existing casino workers:
In this regard, Mr. Lei said: “Some casino-floor staff had been told they might face cancellation of scheduled rest days during the festive period.
“The good news is… at least the front-line casino staff are now relieved… they will not need to to take unpaid leave every now and then, as had happened during the Covid-19 pandemic.”