Members of the New Macau Gaming Workers’ Rights Union Thursday petitioned the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), urging the government to set up a specific legal framework for the mandatory shutdown of all local casinos when a typhoon hits the city, starting with the No. 8 signal.
The union handed the petition to an official outside the bureau in China Plaza in Avenida da Praia Grande.
On Saturday evening – when the number 8 signal was hoisted due to Super Typhoon Mangkhut – the government said in a statement that after assessing potential safety risks to residents and tourists, it had requested the city’s six gaming operators to suspend their casino operations. The operators complied with the government’s request and suspended all of their gaming activities starting from 11p.m. that evening until 8 a.m. on Monday – when the No. 8 signal was lowered to the No. 3 signal. The temporary closure lasted 33 hours.
Speaking to reporters after handing the petition to the DICJ official, the union’s president, Cloee Chao Sao Fong, said that during Typhoon Mangkhut the government had shown its concern for gaming workers and they were grateful for the arrangement.
Gaming workers this time did not need to risk their lives to go to work during adverse weather conditions, Chao pointed out, adding that it freed their family members from worrying about them during the typhoon last weekend.
Chao expressed the view that the temporary closure of the city’s casinos didn’t bring much inconvenience to residents and tourists alike.
She noted that the temporary casino shutdown also helped the government’s civil protection measures as thousands of gaming workers that would have been required to be on duty had instead been able to stay at home.
She urged the government to set up “as soon as possible” the legal framework mandating the temporary shutdown of casinos when the typhoon signal No. 8 or above has been hoisted.
Customarily, public transport stops after the No. 8 signal has been hoisted. During last weekend’s super typhoon, the weather station hoisted the No. 10 signal, the city’s highest, resulting in the closure of the three Macau-Taipa bridges, including the enclosed lower deck of Sai Van Bridge, and the Macau-Zhuhai border checkpoints.
According to official statistics, the gaming industry employed 56,271 people at the end of June.