IAG August 2014 - page 6

hMei got a relatively late start working as a dealer in
Macau. She took up the job three years ago at the age
of 43 for a simple reason—money.
“What other job in Macau can offer somebody like
me MOP17,000 [US$2,125] a month?” says the
Guangdong native, who never finished high school and nowworks
at Pharaoh’s Palace, a satellite casino operating under the license
of SJMHoldings.
Arriving inMacau from themainland in the late 1980s, she had
held a variety of menial jobs, cleaning, waitressing andworking at a
garment factory, to supplement her four-member family’s income.
“My husband didn’t like the idea [of me working as a dealer] at
thebeginning, worrying Iwoulddevelopagamblinghabit,” she says.
“But we neededmoney at the time becausemy elder sonwas about
to start university.”
It’s becoming increasingly common for Macau’s six casino
operators to target middle-aged locals like Ah Mei as the city’s
labor crunchworsens. The unemployment rate stood at 1.7% in the
Macau’scasinoboom is
outstripping its labor supply.
Lookingahead to thenextwave
ofmegaresort openings,many
arecallingongovernment to
relax itsbanonnon-resident
dealers. But that’sabignon-
starter, sociallyandpolitically.
Morecreativesolutionswill be
needed. Andsomeof themare
already takingshape
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