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Gambling Industry Wage Hikes in Macau Lead to Employment Drop



Macau is known as a thriving gambling hub located along China’s Southern coast. The region is home to over 50 physical casinos, with 33 in Macau, 13 in Cotai, and another 5 in Taipa. The casinos in the area bring in billions, boosting the local economy, supporting employment, and offering visitors and locals entertainment. In fact, in 2023 it was reported that the gross revenue generated from gaming in Macau totalled over 22 billion. 

With gambling being such a mammoth part of the local economy, it’s no surprise that thousands work in the gambling sector. However, due to recent wage hikes and limited online wagering options in the area, employment numbers have dropped. 

During the last quarter of 2023, the Statistics and Consensus Service reported that there were 51,711 individuals employed full-time in the gambling industry in Macau. When compared to similar reports from the last quarter in 2022, a decrease of over 400 employees is seen. Additionally, in 2023 dealers totaled 23,359, which was also down by 362 employees when compared to the year before. 

The decrease in employment is due to a combination of factors, with two of the leading culprits being recent wage increases for employees and the lack of online wagering options in the region. 

Currently, Macau only allows in-person gambling, so online wagering is a legal gray area. The region has been thriving for decades, however, as more gamblers look for online betting options, Macau’s restrictive regulations may be hurting the industry and employment numbers. With over 5,000 online betting sites worldwide for players to choose from, the competition is now steeper than it once was. Bettors can now pick from any international online casino or Bitcoin live casino if they prefer wagering with cryptocurrency. Nick Pappas explains that some crypto casinos that accept digital currencies like Bitcoin even offer live dealer games, so players can wager from home and engage with a real live dealer virtually. 

Wagering online, and especially with cryptocurrency, offers players a variety of benefits that in-person establishments have trouble competing with. Wagering with cryptocurrency gives players an extra layer of security and reduced transaction fees. There are even some no-KYC casinos, where players can bypass registration hassles. With the online casino sector worldwide booming, it is easy to see how this could affect the in-person industry in Macau, leading to a slight drop in employment. However, experts believe the main reason for the employment dip is due to increased wage costs. 

The average full-time employee salary in late 2023 was reported 25,290 patacas per month. This shows a fairly steep 6.8% increase when compared to December the prior year. Similarly, dealers’ wagers showed the same trend. In the last quarter of 2023, dealers earned an average of 20,870 patacas per month, which was 5.4% more than they earned in 2022.

Although employment numbers have dropped and tough regulations are in place, in no way is the famous gambling destination going out of business. Macau is a global wagering destination, drawing in over 28 million visitors per year. While local agencies and operators may feel the pains of increased wages and see players opting to visit offshore casinos, the physical betting business in Macau is still thriving. 

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