Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Macau operators make CSR push amidst coronavirus crisis


As the Covid-19 crisis descended upon, first, China, then the world, the six Macau operators have not been idle in their CSR efforts, in spite of the mandated casino closures and reopenings under difficult economic conditions.

The coronavirus came down like a hammer blow on Macau’s gaming industry, but the six operators remained core players in the local community, needing to step up in the time of greatest need.

There has been some variation in the approaches that the six operators have taken, including differences in the degree to which they have publicized their respective CSR activities. It is not clear that there has been much coordination between them.

Nevertheless, at the initial stage in late January and February, it would seem that all six operators pledged about MOP20 million (US$2.6 million) to mainland China to assist its efforts to combat the coronavirus—made in coordination with the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macau—and MOP5 million (US$650,000) for local efforts in Macau.

However, this initial uniformity appears to have diverged in more recent weeks.

Sticking to the operators about which a more complete picture of their CSR efforts is available, it can be noted that Melco Resorts & Entertainment was perhaps the earliest mover, announcing anti-infection measures on January 27 and a HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) donation to support anti-coronavirus initiatives for Wuhan and Hubei on January 29.

On February 16, it followed up with a MOP5 million (US$650,000) donation to set up the “Special Aid Fund for Workers in Need” in collaboration with Macao Federation of Trade Unions. The main beneficiaries of the fund were expected to be “workers and self-employed persons such as taxi drivers, coach drivers, and tour guides, their families, and more.” There were few additional announcements, perhaps because Melco had effectively outsourced the specific uses of its donations.

A week later, on February 23, the company announced a MOP 3 million (US$390,000) donation to Women’s General Association of Macau as funding for surgical face masks and an allowance scheme to benefit those including single mothers and families with children with special needs. It also supported a public health awareness and wellbeing online video series by Macau Daily News to further publicize the government’s coronavirus prevention appeal.

On April 14, Melco announced the donation of 500,000 surgical masks to the Macau government and the local community, with 200,000 such masks being donated directly to designated NGOs under the Social Welfare Bureau. The masks went to help vulnerable groups such as the elderly, single families, long-term patients, and medical patient support staff.

Finally, as a longer term initiative to support local people and to help minimize the socioeconomic impact of Covid-19, on March 16 the company announced the hiring of a hundred local resident construction workers, providing them with one-year employment contracts and on-the-job training. The program aimed to advance local talent and support sustainable development.

Many of Sands China’s local CSR efforts were directed through Sands Cares. The earliest initiatives were directed at families and children suffering the burdens of living under conditions of isolation, as well as financial support for a variety of local NGOs. Under the same fund, Sands Cares helped deliver hand sanitizer, medical gloves, and shower caps to local community organizations; as well as support a service for live-alone elderly during the epidemic involving telephone calls to ensure their well-being.

Sands China says it was the first operator—on February 1—to donate 500,000 surgical masks to the Macau government.

They also gave special attention to “family bonding” during the crisis period, sponsoring the Sheng Kung Hui Social Service Coordination Office for a donation of three hundred parent-child picture book gift kits, and jointly organizing a parent-child coloring contest to enrich stay-at-home activities.

Somewhat related as well was Sands’ decision to speed up its investment projects in Macau, including forty large scale construction and renovation projects of The Londoner, Four Seasons Hotel, and St. Regis Hotel. By accelerating and increasing investment and construction, this was expected to support a large number of local enterprises, including nearly a hundred SMEs. Facility maintenance and repair projects, such as upgrading the company-wide computer software system, involves more than MOP100 million (US$13 million), expected to benefit many local enterprises, including more than twenty SMEs.

On February 2, Galaxy Entertainment announced its own donation of MOP20 million (US$2.6 million) through the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macau, as well as a donation of MOP5 million (US$650,000) to support prevention initiatives within the Macau community, much like the others, but on March 5 followed up with a subscription of HK$100 million (US$13 million) of the SMEs themed Covid-19 Impact Alleviation Social Bonds issued by Bank of China’s Macau Branch, aimed at easing the operating pressures and providing assistance to local SMEs affected by the epidemic. Moreover, on April 13, Galaxy made an additional donation of MOP75 million (US$9.8 million) through the Galaxy Entertainment Group Foundation to mainland China’s campaign against Covid-19.

That meant Galaxy’s total contribution by mid-April was MOP200 million (US$26 million), apparently much larger than most of the other operators, based on the publicized statements of each company.

MGM, which last month launched a quarterly CSR newsletter has adopted a particular focus on education. The company committed MOP130,000 to launch the “ÜCARE Fun Learning Kits Donation Program” in collaboration with Sheng Kung Hui Macau Social Services Coordination Office (SKH), giving out 800 sets of learning kits to families with special needs. The kits are designed to help children enhance their self-care and learning abilities after the closure of schools and colleges.

The company also introduced a virtual classroom developed by a local young entrepreneur to its team members during this period of epidemic. On top of the existing 6,500 eLearning courses at MGM eAcademy, the virtual classroom offers a series of new practical courses starting from January, which has benefitted over 4,800 team members and accumulated over 21,000 training hours. 

SJM Holdings has been handing out Macau Jiayou Bags, which are worth MOP1.5 million, to about 3,000 of the territory’s neediest families. 

In February, it also donated MOP20 million to help fight coronavirus in Hubei province.

All of the items, such as rice, noodles, oatmeal, canned food, toilet paper, masks, hand sanitizers and other daily necessities, were sourced from Macau’s small to medium-sized enterprises.

It also sponsored an event encouraging young people to submit works of calligraphy and artwork expressing their views on the virus. 

The activity aims to contribute to the concerted efforts of society in fighting the disease, while promoting Chinese culture and creativity in arts amongst the young generation, it sa

Wynn Macau donated MOP5 million to SMEs and has also made sizable donations of medical equipment and sanitizer. In February, it gave 1 million medical masks to the Macau government, whilst in March it gave MOP2 million in equipment to the territory’s small business community. 

In these various ways, the six Macau operators have been making efforts to fulfill their social responsibilities as key pillars of the community.

 

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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