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Macau Legislator Wants Casinos to Increase Workers' Pay

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In the wake of the widespread workers strikes taking place in casino markets in the US and elsewhere, Macau wants to make sure it doesn't fall into the same dilemma. The country has issued a call to gaming operators, hoping they'll consider raising employee wages.

Protecting Macau’s Casino

Macau's Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, has suggested that gaming operators consider increasing staff salaries in 2024, provided the companies are financially able to do so. However, he emphasized that the government cannot mandate salary adjustments for the six casino concessionaires.

Related: Detroit Casino Strike Lingers as MGM Refuses to Concede

Lei referred to a recent survey indicating that casino operators, as private sector entities, could potentially raise salaries by 2%-3%. The survey, known as the "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Pay and Benefits Survey," projected salary adjustments ranging from 2.8% to 3.3% for all levels of private sector staff in Macau in 2024.

Macau's casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first 10 months of 2023 reached MOP148.45 billion (US$18.5 billion), surpassing the government's full-year estimate. Lei expressed confidence that the city's casino industry could generate MOP216.0 billion (US$26.87 billion) in GGR in 2024, as outlined in the fiscal year budget.

Macau Jockey Club Avoids Strike

Trainers and jockeys at the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) had initially planned to go on strike in response to a recent decision to cut prize money by 30%. However, the organization eventually agreed to postpone the reduction just before the race meeting on the past Saturday.

The strike threat emerged after the MJC announced a 30% reduction in prize money starting from November 18, 2023, citing the club's financial instability. This raised concerns about its sustainability beyond the current racing season.

The decision was prompted by lower-than-expected betting turnover over the years, forcing the club to reluctantly implement a corresponding policy adjustment. In response, some MJC staff issued an open letter on November 14, stating that trainers and jockeys would take action. They told the head of Macau's government, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau and the Labour Affairs Bureau the strike would take place if the prize money reduction or a decrease in races occurred on the November 18 meet.

A temporary resolution was reached after a meeting between trainers, jockeys, and MJC senior management on November 17, with the Macau Jockey Club choosing to maintain the existing prize money structure for the Saturday meet.

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