Gaming workers association calls on Gov’t to help protect income

An association representing thousands of people who work in Macau’s casinos today (Friday) called on the region’s government to help protect their income, which has been hit by the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Macau’s Chief Executive, the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association asks the government to intercede with gambling operators to ensure that these employees maintain the usual end-of-year bonus, equivalent to one month’s salary.

They also called on the government to reconsider its decision not to inject MOP7,000 per worker into the Non-mandatory Central Provident Fund System next year, as it usually does.

While thanking the six casino licence holders in Macau for their efforts in protecting the jobs of local workers, the association notes in the letter that employees did not receive the usual summer bonus even though “the worst is over” where the crisis is concerned and there are signs of economic recovery.

Moreover, it argues, “the six biggest gambling companies have made huge profits over the years, and the more profits they make, the more responsibilities they have to take on, so they should be considered more responsible for promoting Macau’s economic recovery and maintaining social stability.”

Finally, the association asks the government to reconsider its decision not to inject in 2021 the usual MOP7,000 patacas into the Non-mandatory Central Provident Fund System – which the executive has said is because of the loss of gambling revenues this year – and maintains that it was possible to withdraw capital from the system to alleviate economic pressure on household budgets.

“Even the government’s budget is in the red this year, which shows that the impact of the epidemic on the families of ordinary citizens is even greater,” the association stresses.

Macau was among the first parts of the world to feel the impact of the pandemic, with the economy and above all the gambling sector suffering badly as Covid-19 swept mainland China, its biggest market, early this year.

The region’s government has launched unprecedented financial support measures targeting small and medium-sized enterprises as well as local residents. Although there have been no cases in Macau since 26 June, and China is once more issuing visas for the territory for residents of the mainland, tourists numbers are still far below those last year.