Staff laid off by casinos whose operations have been suspended after running foul of the law are entitled to compensation, lawmaker Andrew Chan Chak Mo said yesterday.
Chan was speaking after yesterday’s closed-door meeting of the legislature’s 2nd standing committee about the revision of a government-drafted amendment bill on reshaping the local gaming industry.
Chan, who chairs the committee, underlined that this is to comply with the Labour Relations Law, which states that in special circumstances, such as when a company is ordered to suspend its business due to non-compliance with the law, the company that has laid off its staff because of the ancillary penalty will be required to pay them severance, which otherwise would not be the case if the dismissal of staff was justified and not due to a penalty imposed on the casino by the government.
Chan said that the latest version of the bill proposes that the current casino operators that are not granted a new gaming concession will be required to apply for a “temporary gaming concession registration” during the bidding period, in order for them to keep operating for a short period of time.
The previous version of the bill proposed that the chief executive can unilaterally order a compensatory revocation of a gaming concession at any time “in the public interest”, while the new version of the bill proposes that in such cases, the gaming concessionaires would be entitled to reasonable compensation for such a revocation, with the government taking into account factors such as the length of time remaining in the gaming concession agreement and the company’s investment status.
Chan also said that the committee members were concerned about the conditions of the uncompensated revocation of a gaming concession. Chan quoted government officials as saying previously that the uncompensated revocation includes reasons such as “endangerment of national security and the Special Administrative Region’s security, “not fulfilling one’s obligations’’, Chan added that the penalty will depend on the “gravity of the offence”.
Chan said that the committee will ask the government to adjust the bill’s final wording and submit its updated version with a view to signing the submission by 10 June, so that a plenary session of the legislature could vote on the bill’s final version on or before 26 June, when Macao’s three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions were due to expire.
However, all the concessions and sub-concessions have already been extended by the government until the end of the year.
According to the bill, there will be no more sub-concessions after the granting of up to six gaming concessions, The Macau Post Daily reported.