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Take it or leave it

Not our decision. SJM isn’t forcing staff to take unpaid leave, says Ambrose So. The chief executive chose to clarify an internal memorandum that went public.

Ambrose So, chief executive of gaming operator SJM Holdings Ltd., said that the corporation was not forcing workers to take unpaid leave. In addition, he said SJM has not yet applied for gaming tables for the new Lisboa Palace project. Mr. So told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that SJM workers are not forced to take unpaid leave, while conceding that the corporation will co-operate if workers do want an unpaid vacation, according to local Chinese newspaper Macao Daily. Last Thursday, SJM released an internal memorandum informing employees that they could apply for leave even if their accumulative working hours are not enough to apply for annual paid leave. The city’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, however, urged local gaming corporations not to offer unpaid leave to workers, but paid training instead Despite unpaid leave being available at SJM, the chief executive said they are not planning to fire employees. Nevertheless, they will not rush to recruit as vacancies occur as before as one of the ways to decrease cost. Meanwhile, Mr. So told reporters that SJM will not file an application with the government to apply for gaming tables for their new Cotai project Lisboa Palace this year. The application will only be submitted once the construction of the project is completed. He claimed that SJM is able to shift gaming tables from its other properties to the new project. In addition, SJM’s chief executive revealed that the corporation has financial reserves of some MOP24 billion, claiming it does not have any financial difficulty even though the city’s gaming revenues have dropped for nine consecutive months. Predicting that gaming revenues may still post decreases of 10 to 15 per cent year-on-year in 2015, Mr. So stressed once more that he is optimistic about the development of the gaming industry, claiming that the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will attract more gamblers, especially from Hong Kong. “Once the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opens to traffic, it means that Hong Kong will also have casinos,” Macao Daily quoted Mr. So as saying. In addition, he claimed he is not worried that gamblers in Macau will be attracted to nearby countries which are developing gaming businesses, such as Malaysia and Singapore. He perceives that these countries may not develop their gaming industry on a large scale as it might affect their overall economic structure.