Macau casino dealers are showing up in increasing numbers in the city’s problem gambling treatment programs.
According to Macau’s Social Welfare Bureau, last year saw 147 individuals sign on with the Central Registry System of Individuals with Gambling Disorder. Around 80% of these individuals reported owing gambling debts, with 60% owing debts of over MOP 100k (US $12,500) apiece.
Among the registrants who were employed, around one-fifth were employed as dealers or croupiers in the city’s casinos. One might have suspected that the countless costly losing streaks these dealers must have witnessed on the job would have deterred them from falling down the same well, but apparently one really does have to experience some things for oneself.
The Social Welfare Bureau’s report noted that half of the problem gamblers on its register were employed in shift work, while official data shows that 90% of Macau gaming staff are required to do shift work.
Last month, Paulo Martins Chan, who heads Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), announced that his group would be conducting a study to determine whether or not dealers should be permitted to gamble in local casinos.
Some Macau junket operators already don’t permit their dealers to gamble in the same casinos in which they work. Chan said a blanket ban on all dealers would require “consensus in civil society” and said the DICJ would be consulting local gaming industry figures on the issue in the near future.
Macau law restricts croupier jobs to local residents, a stipulation recently reaffirmed by local officials despite pleas to allow the importation of foreign labor to handle the expected increase from all the new integrated resorts opening in Macau over the next six months.