Good Morning. Labor has been an issue in Macau both in good times and bad. With virtually zero unemployment prior to the pandemic and restrictions on importing employees, staffing costs were notoriously high. Now there’s a new concern with operators being asked to help to absorb workers who lost their jobs due to the collapse of the junket industry and changes to the satellite casinos. These issues are a key risk for Macau’s efforts to diversify its economy and its tourism base and were highlighted as a concern by the International Monetary Fund in a recent report, which urged the government to consider importing high-skilled labor. 

What you need to know

  • Aristocrat’s strong credit metrics would support a strategy of expansion into real money online gaming through mergers and acquisitions, Fitch Ratings said in a note.
  • Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) Chair Andrea Domingo said she favors having a separate regulator to oversee the country’s booming online cockfighting industry, known as eSabong.
  • Star Entertainment’s Chief Casino Officer Greg Hawkins has admitted that the group’s Sydney casino engaged in “sharp” business practices that weren’t appropriate conduct.
  • Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein says the market may have gotten ahead of itself when it was reaveled that the company is in talks to build a large-scale resort in Thailand.

On the radar

  • About 85% of former Macau junket staff are unemployed.
  • Macau mulling opening up travel to certain countries, including Portugal.

What the papers say

  • China to reinforce efforts to keep urban unemployment at no higher than 5.5%
  • Macau MICE sector struggles to survive, with conventions down 70% from 2019.
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Your Daily Asia Gaming eBrief: Macau labor woes in focus as junkets/satellites shed staff

Macau labor woes in focus as junkets/satellites shed staff

Macau’s efforts to diversify its economy and tourism base are being hampered by employment issues, which may get worse as operators come under pressure to absorb workers shed from satellite casinos and junkets. The ability to import labor into Macau was an issue even before the pandemic, with the number of non-resident worker permits in decline as the government sought to prioritize jobs for locals. However, that trend has accelerated with the non-resident workforce at Macau’s six operators falling by a third post-Covid. The government has warned on a number of occasions that it would further restrict the issuance of non-resident permits if local unemployment continues to rise. 

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Asia Gaming Briefings - April 2022