RWS 'laid off over 30 amid lean spell, more bad debt'

At least 30 employees at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have been let go this Chinese New Year period as the gaming sector faces cost pressures around the world.

Some of those affected were from the casino department, spanning functions including pit managers and cage cashiers, sources said.

Those laid off were told this was due to overstaffing. It is not the first time the integrated resort has let staff go, The Straits Times understands.

A spokesman for RWS, which employs about 12,000 people, said: "We constantly review our operational resources to stay relevant in this rapidly evolving business environment."

He added: "As part of our efforts to improve our service delivery in our resort, staff performance appraisal and movement is integral to this effort."

The firm is committed to ensuring a professional workforce that will deliver good service to guests and preserve its award-winning standards, the spokesman said.

Industry analyst Grant Govertsen, managing partner of Union Gaming Research Macau, said that as Genting Singapore, which operates RWS, is in a period of declining earnings owing to various factors, it would make sense for the company to cut costs wherever possible.

"It is indeed likely RWS was overstaffed relative to the current, or lower, levels of business," he said.

As with other global gaming markets, Singapore is under pressure as a result of factors including the anti-corruption drive in China, the slowing mainland economy and currency headwinds from Malaysia, Mr Govertsen added.

Genting Singapore saw net profit slide 81 per cent to $82.94 million for the nine months to Sept 30, as revenue fell 17 per cent to $1.85 billion. Revenue from gaming fell 21 per cent to $1.38 billion for the period. The company will announce its full-year results tomorrow.

Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the other integrated resort, posted a 12.6 per cent drop in net profit last year to $1.51 billion. Revenue for the 12 months to Dec 31 was 8.1 per cent lower at $2.95 billion.

While revenue from the casino also slid - it was 24.1 per cent lower at $198.3 million for the fourth quarter - Mr Govertsen noted that MBS is outperforming RWS as the latter had too-liberal credit policies, which it is now paying the price for in the form of higher levels of bad debt.

It is believed that MBS has not retrenched any staff recently.

This article was first published on February 17, 2016.
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