Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said this week that he will never break his promise that only locals can be employed as croupiers in the city’s casinos.
Chui’s current 5-year term ends on December 20 next year. However, he is widely expected to be re-elected for a second term which, according to the Macau Basic Law, would be his last.
According to The Macau Post Daily, Chui made the remarks after attending a National Day reception on Monday, hosted by the Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM), where reporters had asked him about the issue.
Michael Leven, president of Las Vegas Sands, reportedly told an investor forum in the US last week that the local government policy of not allowing imported workers to be hired as croupiers was limiting Macau casinos’ availability of staff. He was said by some media to have urged the government to axe the restriction.
However, Sands China said in a statement on Sunday that it had not asked the government to change its labour policies.
Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen also told reporters on the sidelines of the reception that the government would not change its policy that allows only locals to be hired as croupiers or pit supervisors in the city’s casinos.
Asked by reporters whether non-local residents should be allowed to be hired as croupiers, Chui said that he had stated where he stood on the matter several times.
“Even when I addressed a plenary meeting of the Legislative Assembly, I said that all the croupier jobs will be kept for local residents only during my official term. I have not changed my stance. It is a promise and the general public should take it as such. I don’t think I should have to say any more [about my stance],” Chui said.
Asked by reporters about recent views that appeared to suggest that the government should scrap its ban on the hiring of non-local croupiers, Tam described such opinions as “strange”.
“There is no change in the policy and the government has never thought about changing it,’ Tam insisted, adding that the government was keeping an eye on possible employment policy breaches by any local gaming operator.
Further asked by reporters for his view on future manpower that will needed as more gaming projects are slated to be completed in 2016, Tam said he believed that the gaming industry’s employment needs in the next three years should not put any pressure on the labour market.
“The government will maintain the growth of gaming tables at three percent on average annually over the next 10 years. I think the increase in the number of croupiers needed should be at three percent [per year] as well,” Tam said, adding “I think the gaming industry’s manpower needs [in the future] won’t pressurise the local labour market.
According to official statistics, the local gaming industry employed 24,031 croupiers at the end of June.(macaunews)