Gov’t will have to monitor closely satellite casino employees situation during gaming law transition – Legislator

Legislator Ella Lei Cheng I has expressed that the Macau government will have to communicate and oversee each satellite casino closely during the future gaming law transition period and ensure workers’ employment to the greatest extent, Allin Media reported.

A member of the Legislative Assembly expressed in an interview that even though the Macau government has relaxed the requirements for satellite casinos in the gaming law draft bill under evaluation there are still many uncertain elements about the future employment situation of these employees.

The legislator also hoped that the Macau government can communicate and plan well with each satellite casino during the transition period and ensure the employment of employees to the greatest extent.

A new version of the general gaming law presented by the Macau SAR government allows for satellite casinos to continue operating even if the property where they are located is not completely owned by a gaming concessionaire, a turnaround from the previous stance that could see these casinos closed if the situation was not resolved in a three-year transitional period after the new law was is enforced.

The previous draft wording had led several industry insiders to warn that multiple satellite casinos in the city could be closed and increase the local unemployment levels.

Still, Ella Lei warned that due to the decrease in the number of tourists affected by the pandemic, even if the satellite casinos can continue to operate under the transitional regulations in the future, there will still be many uncertainties and warned that there was still need to wait for the official passage of the law for the actual conditions to be known.

The vice-chairman of the Macau Federation of Trade Unions added that the employees of the satellite casinos are still not clear about their future employment situations at this moment and hoped that the government could continue to pay attention to the employment situation in satellite casinos even after the passage of the law.

The Co-chairman and executive director of gaming operator SJM, Angela Leong On Kei, recently assured that the group would absorb any workers left unemployed by the closure of satellite casinos linked to the gaming concessionaire.

Currently, there are 18 operational satellite casinos among a total of 40 casinos in the territory, with 14 of these third-party promoted casinos running under the license of gaming operator SJM Holdings Ltd while the other four are linked to Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.

Emperor Entertainment Hotel Limited previously announced that its casino located in its Grand Emperor Hotel will cease operations due to the “tough business operating environment arising from the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years”, with its service agreement with gaming concessionaire SJM set to expire on June 26.

Chinese language newspaper Macao Daily News reported on March 24 that seven satellite casinos were planning to stop operations by mid-year, due to the tightening of visa applications to Macau, lack of cash flow, and the negative impact of the repeated pandemic outbreaks, with four of the casinos set to be closed were said to be linked to Chan Meng Kam’s Golden Dragon Group.