Employee bonuses arrive to Galaxy, Sands employees in Macau

There wasn’t a great deal of doubt that Macau’s casino workforce would get their annual bonuses this year, but there was still a little bit of concern. The COVID-19 pandemic, which is still causing problems everywhere, crushed Macau’s casino industry and companies in and around the gaming space have been scrambling to keep everything together. However, all six of Macau’s casino operators have now confirmed they will offer certain employees the extra cash they have become accustomed to, with Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment Group being the final two to speak up.

Money and poker chips

SJM Holdings was the first to confirm the bonuses, followed by MGM China, Wynn Macau and Melco Resorts and Entertainment. Galaxy joined in when it made an announcement yesterday that it was preparing a “one-off special payment equivalent to one month of salary.” As is customary, the bonus will be given to eligible non-executive team members at the senior management level and below, which, in Galaxy’s case, means that about 98% of its workforce is about to receive the extra money.

Galaxy expects to be able to distribute the bonus as a single payment, not split in two like some other operators have done. The company, thanking its staff for staying committed to the company’s goals, asserts that the money will be headed to employees on February 10, just two days before the Chinese New Year. With both Macau and China recommending against travel during the holiday period, many employees may not be counting on the money in order to make travel plans. 

Sands China rounded out the sextet when it announced today that it is going to offer the same one month’s salary bonus to eligible employees. However, the bonus is capped at MOP45,000 (approximately $5,600). The company indicated that this “discretionary allowance” will be provided to over 26,000 employees, which constitutes around 99% of its workforce. Sands China expects to be able to have the bonuses in the hands of its employees on February 8, adding that the company was appreciative of the “dedication and contributions” of its employees throughout last year. 

As noble as it is for the operators to be giving up serious cash amid a global pandemic, one of them might have been playing games with some employees. Macau Business reports that a satellite casino in the city has been pushing forced resignations on certain personnel, which has caught the attention of the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL, for its Portuguese acronym). The New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association had reportedly received a number of complaints and subsequently forwarded its findings to DSAL.

The satellite casino wasn’t mentioned by name, so it isn’t clear to which of the six operators in Macau the property is linked. Satellites operate as their own business; however, they work under the license of an existing concession holder, which means one of the six might eventually be called out. According to the workers’ association, the satellite operator, in order to convince some staff members to resign, has been concocting “absurd and weird” excuses, such as having committed minor mistakes or having taken more than 45 days in personal or sick leave last year – leave that had been granted to counter the impact of COVID-19. Those employees who refused to take the forced resignation were threatened with dismissal.