Casino personnel in Macau are no longer allowed to enter or remain in gambling facilities during off hours, various news outlets reported.
The Macau Legislative Assembly, in amending Law No. 10/2012 on workers entering and exiting casinos, will keep employees who handle betting machines, cashiers, those selling food and beverages, and security guards, among others, from setting foot in casino premises when not on duty.
The practicality of enforcing such a ban has been questioned, but officials look to implement it through random checks.
According to Inside Asian Gaming, Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) Director Paulo Martins Chan has said that the agency was hiring more people specifically for the task of inspecting casinos. He has also said that casino operators themselves are to assist in monitoring, and that third parties will report violations as well.
Earlier proposals included having a DICJ officer using security cameras and other devices, such as for facial recognition.
Employees will only be allowed inside casinos on working days, the first three days of the Lunar New Year, and other occasions where their entry will be specially authorized, such as for training.
Among the amendments to the existing law was a further simplification of restrictions on people below 21 entering casinos.
With a significant amount of time needed to prepare for such changes, the new regulations will take effect late in 2019 or early in 2020 yet.
Critics of the legislation have said that not only was enforcement going to be tricky, but that the ban was discriminatory toward concessionaires.
According to Macau News Agency, Assembly member José Pereira Coutinho said it was uncertain how the legislation would affect VIP rooms, which he said were regulated differently from gaming promoters. There may also be confusion with how to handle satellite casinos whose operators may be under a different legal status.
The measure is meant to address problem gambling among casino workers in the Special Administrative Region, who are said to constitute 30% of those who ask the government for help to stop gambling.
Under the new regulations, those caught violating the ban will be fined between MOP1,000-MOP10,000 ($124-$1,240).