Asia round-up: Macau employment numbers & VGCCC fines Crown US$57.4m
Macau employee numbers drop by almost 5%
Employee rates in Macau’s hotels and casinos fell by almost 5% for Q1 2022 from the prior-year period.
However, wages were up on average by 5%, with the average monthly wage for the quarter being MOP19,240 (US$2,382).
Figures recorded by the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) attribute this to a fewer number of lower-paid workers from the same period last year.
Other areas suffering continued losses include Macau’s hotel and guesthouse occupancy rates. There was under 30% capacity in Macau for April 2022, down from February when it stood at 49%.
The number of restaurant workers also declined, by over 4% come the end of March (the end of Q1). A total of 22,885 restaurant workers were on the books, down almost 7% on pre-pandemic levels.
Like most hotel workers, the average wage of restaurant workers went up too. The increase only stood at 2%, however, compared with the 5% increase recorded in Macau’s wider hospitality and casino industry.
Moreover, job vacancy rates were at 1% come the end of March, as demand for Macau’s casino products remains low, with restrictions continuing to hamper the region economically.
Macau’s unemployment rate is currently just under 3% all-in-all; up 0.2% come the end of March from what it was in February.
VGCCC issues Crown Melbourne with heavy fine
“Crown benefited handsomely from its illegal conduct. The fine will ensure Crown is stripped of the revenue derived from the CUP process and will send a clear message that it must comply with its regulatory obligations” Fran Thorn, Chairperson, VGCCC
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has imposed an AU$80m ($57.4m) fine on Crown Melbourne.
The casino has been intensely scrutinised in recent months, over a protracted scandal involving the embezzlement of funds from China Union Pay bank cards.
Crown Melbourne allowed its patrons to use China Union Pay cards to access funds for gambling, facilitating access to nearly AU$164m.
Using a China Union Pay debit or credit card for gambling purposes is illegal (given China’s ban on gambling), and Crown Melbourne was in breach of Australia's Casino Control Act 1991.
Illegal bank transactions at the casino, which occurred between 2012 and 2016, are said to have generated an estimated revenue of more than AU$32m for Crown Resorts.
The operator has been embroiled in legal action since this case came to light and, more recently, Crown received new restrictions from the VGCCC.
This hefty fine is the latest of the VGCCC’s enforcement measures against Crown, the highest fine issued by Australia’s Gambling Commission since amendments were made to the Casino Control Act, raising the maximum penalty from AU$1m to AU$100m.
After a string of high-profile departures and resignations at Crown, the organisation's new senior management team has admitted the embezzlement case was illegal and “completely unacceptable.”
VGCCC Chairperson Fran Thorn said: “Crown’s CUP process was a clandestine, deliberate process, which not only breached the Casino Control Act but was also devised to assist patrons to breach China’s foreign currency exchange restrictions.
“Crown benefited handsomely from its illegal conduct. The fine will ensure Crown is stripped of the revenue derived from the CUP process and will send a clear message that it must comply with its regulatory obligations.”