Macau Casino Employees Banned from Entering Outside of Work Hours

Macau skyline at night

It has taken a while to implement, but casino workers in Macau have now been banned from entering or remaining in gambling facilities outside of their work hours, according to numerous news outlets.

The Macau Legislative Assembly amended Law No.10/2012, which affects rules about the comings and goings of workers in casinos. The rules will now prohibit employees who handle betting machines, cashier, workers who sell food and drink, and security guards, among others, from entering casino premises when off duty.

Questions about implementation

The revision of the 10/2012 law has been somewhat controversial, and not just because it could be difficult to enforce, according to critics of the updated legislation.

Officials have said they will implement the new rule by carrying out randomized spot checks on those entering casinos. According to Inside Asian Gaming, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau Director Paulo Martins Chan has said the agency will hire new members of staff whose role will center specifically on the task of inspecting casinos for compliance with the new rule. He also said that casino operators will be required to assist with monitoring and third parties will be invited to report violations, as well.

Proposals have also included using facial recognition technology and having security personnel on hand to survey CCTV installed in all premises, but those plans appear to have been placed on the back burner, at least for now. Workers will only be allowed to enter on the days they work, but exceptions have been made for the first three days of the Lunar New Year, as well as some other unique occasions throughout the year. The ruling has taken some common sense into account as it has recognized the need for training and other work-related necessities.

Other rules also updated

The amendment also further clarifies restrictions placed on those entering casinos, which have been simplified to include those under the age of 21. It is not expected that these new regulations will be implemented until late 2019 or even early in 2020.

Critics have raised concerns that the restriction on workers’ ability to enter casinos freely discriminates against them. According to the Macau News Agency, Jose Pereira Coutinho, a member of the Assembly, said it is uncertain how the new regulations will affect VIP rooms, which are regulated differently than casinos and gaming promoters. There may also be issues with how satellite casinos are regulated because the operators may fall under different regulations that make them exempt from the updates.

The measures have the goal of reducing problem gambling among particularly vulnerable groups, including young people and gambling workers in the Special Administrative Region. It is estimated that 30% of those who seek government help for problem gambling are actually casino workers themselves. Constant exposure to gaming may account for the high level of problem gamblers among the group, but they could also be under the false impression that they have insider knowledge of how the games work, leading them to believe they can win more frequently than they actually will. Under the new legislation, those who breach the new rules will be subject to fines ranging from $124 to $1,240.