Macau Legislature Unanimously Passes Local Casino Staff Ban Proposal

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The Legislative Assembly in Macau has unanimously approved a proposed bill that seeks to ban all casino employees from going onto the gaming floors past working hours and for any purposes other than to work. However, questions have been arising as to how the bill would be implemented.

Questions arise on the enforcement of the bill

After the approval of the first reading of the bill, it will then proceed to one of the Legislature’s committees for a closer examination. The committee will then issue a report on the bill before it goes back to the Assembly for the second and final reading. This process could take a few months before it reaches a conclusion.

The government has said that this ban on casino employees will, hopefully, curb any problem gambling and addiction among its 24,453 casino card dealers. Angela Leong On Kei, a lawmaker and co-chair of SJM Holdings, questioned the enforcement of the ban during the Assembly meeting.

Leong stated that there would be many challenges faced with regards to the enforcement of the bill. She posed a number of questions to the government representative in the meeting with respect to the enforcement. Her questions included how would a casino operator know that a customer was an employee of another casino and how would an operator safeguard and maintain the confidentiality of employees’ personal information?

Casino operators to enforce the ban

Paulo Martins Chan, who is the head of the local gaming regulator, did not go into detail on how exactly the government plans to enforce the bill. However, he did say that the regulator is planning to facilitate easy infringements reporting by setting up a hotline. He also stated that the ban would have an educational component for the casino workers on gambling behavior.
The regulator had previously said that enforcement of the ban would be up to the casino operators and it is expected to initially be through the monitoring of staff by the casino’s security personnel, which may eventually involve other technological means.

Other casino employees included in the bill

It is not a requirement for casino customers in Macau to provide their identification cards every time they enter the casino floor. It is, however, recommended that they carry them and be in a position to provide them in the event that they are asked either by the casino employees or the authorities.

The bill also includes any casino employees not working directly on the casino floor, such as cleaners, food and beverage staff, and security and surveillance. They will also be banned from the casino floor after working hours. The ban is expected to take effect one year after the publishing of the approved bill in the Official Gazette.

There have been suggestions that the ban should be tailored to cover all citizens of Macau. This was proposed by Sulu Sou, who also sits in the Legislative Assembly. It was, however, rebuffed by Leong, who said that strict measures could result in other unforeseen issues.

Many operators already have effective bans on their employees against gaming on the working premises.

Ban exemptions

According to data availed by the city’s statistics service, as at the end of 2017, a total of 57,207 people had been employed in the gaming sector. The data also showed that, in the same period, there were 24,453 gaming tables dealers.
The bill proposes a fine of between MOP 1,000 and MOP 10,000 to any casino employees found in any casino floors after working hours. There is, however, an exemption to this ban that will only be effective during the Chinese New Year.

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