Macau’s casino industry continued to decline in 2015 due to the anti-corruption crackdown and gross gaming revenues plummeted for a second year in a row for all of the major operators, including Sands China Ltd, Wynn Macau and SJM Holdings.

However this market slump is not stopping Sands China from rolling out salary increases and special bonuses for employees who meet specific criteria. Sands China has agreed to pay a special bonus as the Chinese New Year (CNY) approaches in February and has confirmed that all full time employees who joined Sands China before the 1st of October 2015 and are on the payrolls of the company till 5th Feb 2016, will qualify for this special bonus which will be the equivalent to one month’s salary.

This is great news for the Sands Macau employees as CNY is the biggest festival in Mainland China and employees in the Mainland are used to receiving a 13th month bonus in lieu of CNY. Sands China has also decided to award salary increases to nearly 96% of its employees and this will be effective from the 1st of March 2016. There will be a salary increase of MOP500 per month for all full time employees who are currently drawing a salary that is the equivalent or less than MOP12,000.

Employees who are getting more than MOP12,000 will be eligible for a 2% increase as long as the increase stays within the salary cap of MOP45,000. The announcement from Sands China has come as a surprise as a number of casino operators in Macau are not only laying off employees but are not in a position to roll out any salary hikes.

In a statement, Wilfred Wong, president of Sands China Ltd said “Sands China is pleased to announce this bonus and salary increase during such a challenging business environment. We are committed to rewarding our greatest asset – our dedicated employees, who have been working hard amid challenges. I look forward to having another successful year in 2016 with the continuous dedication from our team members”.

Wong also went on to thank Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson for approving these increases for the Sands China and went on to thank his team for the outstanding work in 2015 in helping to make guest and visitor experiences a memorable one.

Macau’s casino unions and welfare groups have been actively campaigning for the casinos to pay out special bonuses and salary increases and now that Sands China has confirmed this will happen, other operators in the region, such as Galaxy Entertainment and the Melco-Crown, will also be under pressure to follow suit.