Resorts World Sentosa sacks 375 staff as China crackdown, VIP debt toll mounts

resorts-world-sentosa-layoffsOne of Singapore’s two integrated resorts has cut nearly 400 casino jobs as China’s corruption crackdown take a bite out of gaming revenue.

On Thursday, local media outlet TODAY reported that Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) property had handed walking papers to around 3% of its 12k-strong staff in the past couple weeks. The affected jobs were all directly gaming-related, reflecting the slowdown in the city-state’s casino business over the past year.

Among those affected were 150 croupiers, 200 supervisors and 25 pit managers. A pit manager told TODAY that the property employed a total of 1,400 croupiers, 700 supervisors and 130 pit managers. In February, RWS cut 30 casino jobs but claimed it was part of its annual staff performance review.

A letter given to affected staff indicated that the “very difficult decision” was made “in anticipation that the business situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon.” An RWS spokesman issued a statement saying “the current business environment” made it necessary for RWS’ payroll to “achieve the right size to meet its business needs.”

Last month, Genting Singapore reported an 83% slide in its Q1 profits, the fourth straight quarter in which the numbers have fallen. Besides bad investments, the main factors behind this downturn are the lackluster VIP business and a sharp rise in uncollectable gambling debts from high rollers. Singapore has strict rules regarding casino junket operators, meaning casinos usually deal directly with VIPs and thus bear the burden if a VIP’s credit proves unreliable.

The affected staff were reportedly offered voluntary retrenchment packages worth two weeks’ pay for every year of service. Those who failed to take the deal were summarily sacked following one week’s notice.

The situation is far brighter across town at Las Vegas SandsMarina Bay Sands property. Last week, Sands boss Sheldon Adelson said the company was interested in adding a new hotel tower and entertainment arena to bolster the property’s non-gaming amenities. Adelson claimed that the Singapore government was “really anxious to get it done.”

This week, Sands informed GGRAsia that its plans were “preliminary and confidential” and that the government “have not expressed a view on this proposal.” The statement said Adelson apologized “if there has been any confusion on these points.”