Macau Casino Unemployment Rate Rises Sharply

Article by : Helen Aug 3, 2020

Since the introduction of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Macau’s land-based casino market has witnessed the most extensive financial damage. All gambling establishments were closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Accordingly, the employees were forced to take an unexpected vacation. But the worst part is that casino workers in this region still do not even know the approximate time frame when the situation may change for the better.

The region, which received the lion’s share of income from gambling, suddenly realized that the closure of ground-based casinos provoked an unprecedented wave of unemployment and affected the psychological state of tens of thousands of people.

Even though the gambling market is gradually beginning to recover, these few months of downtime due to Covid-19 will be felt for a long time. This primarily concerns employment indicators. Although gambling establishments are gradually returning to life and again bringing employees to work, not every operator is ready to open its doors straight away. According to the city’s latest data, the number of casino employees dropped significantly between Q1 and Q2 2020.

In order to better imagine the current situation, it is worth noting that in the first quarter, the gambling market was served by about 87,500 employees. However, according to Macau’s Statistics and Census Service data, the number of employees dropped to 82,300 by the end of the second quarter of 2020. In other words, 5,200 people faced unemployment in a brief period and are unlikely to return to their positions shortly. This situation is entirely consistent with the declared indicators of Gross Gaming Revenue, which amounted to 97% of the indicators for the same period last year. Each of the three months of the second quarter showed a decrease in Gross Gaming Revenue by more than 90% year-on-year.

For their part, Macau officials and gaming regulators have made every effort to reduce the rate of unemployment in the gambling segment. Officials urged gaming platforms not to take drastic measures to fire employees. Nevertheless, some of the operators could not survive several months of downtime and were forced to close their companies. After the financial flows have entirely dried up for some brands, it is evident that business activity has ceased to be financially profitable. For example, the Golden Group, which owns three VIP clubs in Macau, has announced that it is forced to close its casinos at the Lisboa Hotel this month.

Macau’s Statistics and Census Service published data stating that the total number of unemployed rose from 400 to 10,000 people at the end of the second quarter. Meanwhile, the bulk of the unemployed is in the gambling industry, restaurants, and bars. The number of employees who are now working on the status of part-time employees increased to 13,900 people, which is 3300 more than in the previous year. The overall unemployment rate is entirely in line with the growth rates of 2.1% and 2.5% in the first quarter of 2020. In general, it concerns 9.7% of the population that currently faces the problem of unemployment.

Equally comforting information from the official agency is that the earnings of employees who have retained their jobs have dropped to a 3-year low. Over the past three years, the growth rate of the average monthly wage has been very optimistic. However, after the coronavirus intervened, all positive results were destroyed. A vital feature of the Macau gambling zone is that it predominantly targets Chinese rather than foreign tourists. In many ways, this happened due to the official ban on casinos, which affects the rest of the PRC.

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