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Macau Study Suggests Casino Employees Fail to Address Harm

A recent academic study by the Macao Polytechnic University has highlighted a number of reasons why casino employees are not always able to effectively mitigate gambling harm. The study was compiled by the university’s Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies and sheds light on the setbacks casino staff faces when dealing with problem players.



After interviewing almost 50 workers, experts learned that casino employees as a whole are well aware of their responsible gambling obligations. However, employees would often fail to intervene even if they identify problematic behavior.



According to the research, the employees’ inactivity is due to a variety of reasons, including fear of offending clients and causing trouble, misidentification concerns, responsibility ambiguity and lack of guidance.



Foreign Gamblers Are Treated Differently



Additionally, many casino employees incorrectly assume that Macau’s responsible gambling practices only apply to locals and not foreign nationals.



To make matters worse, many of Macau’s safer gambling messaging is targeted at local residents through local channels. As a result, foreign visitors are primarily made aware of Macau’s responsible gambling policies through signage and pamphlets, furthering employees’ misunderstanding of how they should address overseas guests.  



Additionally, the effect of gambling on visitors is not well-studied. While the University of Macau Gambling Research Institute has investigated the matter through studies, its activities mostly cover resident gamblers.



The Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies learned that casino employees believe the problem gambling rates have not decreased. Workers also noted that both local players and foreign nationals exhibit signs of problem gambling.



Macau Should Implement Better Standards



The study warned that the aforementioned issues may undermine the Macau market’s profile and sustainability. Because of that, the centre suggested that Macau should take inspiration from other regulatory frameworks when it comes to dealing with problem gambling.



According to the study, certain safer gambling measures and policies already in use in Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland could potentially benefit Macau’s gaming industry.



The study concluded that Macau should set clear responsibilities for operators and casino workers and establish better-defined standards and intervention strategies. However, the analysts admitted that implementing such measures and training casino workers would take time.

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