Macau casino workers forbidden to enter outside working hours

Macau casino workers are now banned from gambling rooms outside working hours, a move taken by the former government to combat addiction and crime.

The new legislation covers all employees in the sector and provides for administrative sanctions ranging from one thousand to ten thousand patacas.

In 2018, more than 57,000 workers worked full-time casinos in the territory, according to the Statistics and Census Services Bureau (DSEC).

Under the new law, these workers will only be able to enter the playing grounds within the first three days of the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) – an exception that already applies to civil servants – and in “situations where legitimate cause exists”.

The higher risks to which these officials are exposed and the need to combat addiction in what is the gaming capital of the world were the arguments put forward by the previous government – which ceased office on December 20 – to modify the legislation in force since 2012.

When amendments to the current law were approved by MPs in July last year, the former Secretary for Economy and Finance pointed out that croupiers and workers in the sector constituted “the highest percentage” among individuals affected by gambling addiction disorder in recent years.”

Considered one of the safest cities in the world, Macau saw violent crime increase by 16.2% in the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period of 2018, mainly due to the increase in kidnappings associated with gambling.

The new legislation also aims to simplify the sanctioning procedure in cases of violation of the casino entry ban and to establish mechanisms for imposing fines on persons under the age of 21 who illegally enter the gambling spaces.

The law also strengthens the rules on banning the recording of images and sounds in casinos, as well as the prohibition of the use of mobile phones or other equipment in the gaming table area.