Macau Casino Ban for Off-Duty Employees Takes Effect

  • Ban is expected to cover a total of 54,000 gaming workers in Macau
  • Certain situations will allow civil servants to access the gaming floor with legitimate cause
  • Legal changes have been made to fight gambling addiction and crime  
evening view of a casino in Macau
New legislation has been introduced banning Macau’s 54,000 gaming workers from entering the casino floor outside of their work hours. [Image:]

Ban takes effect

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also known as DICJ, has introduced new legislation that includes a ban on gaming workers entering casino floors outside work hours.

ban is expected to cover 54,000 gaming workers

The former government made the move in a bid to fight crime and gambling addiction. The ban is expected to cover 54,000 gaming workers, including employees that are not directly involved with gaming operations.

Attempt to tackle addiction

As per the new law, employees can only enter the casino floor while not on shift within the first three days of the Chinese New Year. An exception will be made for civil servants and in certain situations where there is a legitimate cause for employees to be on the gaming floor.

The previous government, which left the office on December 20, put these new rules in place due to the higher risk of employees to gambling addiction. The legislation modified had been in place since 2012.

The former Secretary for Economy and Finance revealed during the law change that croupiers and other employees in the gaming sector are among the highest percentage of individuals affected by addiction over the past few years.

Additional ban information

Along with employees being banned from the casino floor after their work day is over, the new legislation includes other bans.

The sanctioning procedure for those who violate the casino entry ban has been simplified. Players under the age of 21 who gain entry to casinos illegally will be fined based on mechanisms established by the government.

The legislation strengthened rules regarding the recording of images and sounds at the casino, as well as mobile phone usage and other types of equipment being banned at the tables.

Casino crime on the rise

Another reason behind the legal changes in Macau involves casino crime.

Macau is considered one of the safest cities in the world, but violent crime in the region is increasing. For the first nine months of 2019, violent crime in Macau increased by 16.2% when compared to last year. The increase is mainly due to kidnappings taking place involving loan sharks and the gambling industry.

Loan sharks are a big problem in the region, leading to cases of kidnapping. As reported on VSO News, crime figures for Macau show that 438 gambling-related crimes took place during the first quarter of the year. Illegal loans increased by more than 37% with 81 reported cases. Law enforcement agencies are placing emphasis on loan sharking in an attempt to avoid cases of kidnapping and even death in the future.

victim borrowed HK$50,000 (US$6,421) and gambled it all away within three hours

A case from May 2019 involved a gambling losing his life after he was unable to pay back a debt to a loan shark. The victim borrowed HK$50,000 (US$6,421) and gambled it all away within three hours at one of the casinos in Macau.

After being unable to repay the money, the loan sharks kidnapped the gambler. After two days of beatings by the captors, he died. One killer confessed to police and all three people involved were taken into custody.

The horrific case is just one example of how crime is impacting the region. Authorities created a single operations center to work on gambling crime, with four inspections teams for Macau operating out of the facility. Additional oversight is planned to help crackdown efforts against illegal loan sharking and other gambling-related crime.

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