The Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government is urging the city’s six commercial casino operators to consider raising the wages of their employees as the gaming industry continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Economy and Finance Secretary Lei Wai Nong stated that with gaming revenue experiencing a surge this year, the casino operators should contemplate increasing the pay of their employees by 2% to 3%. While the government cannot mandate the salary adjustments, they have been advising the operators to share the economic recovery benefits with their workers.
The casino industry in Macau is dominated by the Chinese subsidiaries of Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM Resorts, along with Hong Kong-based gaming operators Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Resorts, and Melco Resorts.
The economy of Macau, known as the “Las Vegas of Asia,” was significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and China President Xi Jinping’s “zero-COVID” response program. However, since the lifting of the policy, gaming, the city’s primary economic sector, has started its long-awaited recovery.
In October, Macau experienced its highest gaming revenue month since the start of the pandemic, totaling MOP19.5 billion (US$2.43 billion). The gross gaming revenue for the first 10 months of 2023 amounted to $18.4 billion, marking a substantial increase compared to previous years.
Despite the recovery, the market has not yet returned to its 2019 gaming levels, with the absence of VIP junket groups bringing high rollers to the city. Nevertheless, the government’s comments are expected to result in pay increases for workers in 2024, as casino operators in Macau typically provide their employees with generous bonuses and annual compensation adjustments.
Last year, all six companies issued financial awards to their employees, with bonus equivalents ranging from one month’s salary to 1.5 months of pay, demonstrating the companies’ commitment to their workforce.