Survey shows 85% of former casino VIP room workers remain jobless

85% of the people formerly working at the glitzy VIP rooms of local casinos are still unemployed. (Allin photo)

Several months have passed since the demise of Macau’s junket industry, which was once the golden egg of the city’s casinos, and 85% of the people formerly working at the glitzy VIP rooms of local casinos are still unemployed, according to a recent survey conducted by the Macau Gaming Workers’ Union.

The association interviewed in March 309 people who had lost their jobs in the junket sector over the past 12 months; nearly half of the survey’s respondents previously worked at Suncity Group and the majority of them were below 39 years old.

According to the survey, 86.1% of the respondents became jobless due to the closures of their companies while 7.8% voluntarily quit their jobs in return for better compensation packages.

Only 11.9% of the respondents have succeeded in finding new jobs but over 60% of them saw their monthly income drop to MOP12,000 or below, far less than what they previously earned at the junket industry.

Many of these former VIP room employees interviewed in the survey said their families could hardly make ends meet and over 45% of them had to resort to selling their properties.

For those who still cannot find jobs, the scarcity of job vacancies in the local labour market plus the limited skills of gaming workers are the major hurdles. The lack of government support is also blamed as part of the problem.

The Macau Gaming Workers’ Union is urging the government to relax restrictions on paid training and press ahead with the exit of foreign workers.

According to official data released by the Labour Affairs Bureau, 2,816 people formerly working in the gaming industry have signed up at the agency to look for jobs as of 25 February.