He works night shifts while taking courses during the day to upgrade his skills in the hopes of being promoted to a managerial position.
Voracious demand for casino workers has driven Macau’s unemployment rate to an ultralow 2 percent.
The city’s young are in high demand, thanks to government restrictions on the number of foreign workers. Casino jobs are popular because the pay is two-thirds higher than the city’s median monthly income of $1,465, and many positions don’t even require a high school diploma.
But there are drawbacks, including the stress of dealing with customers on losing streaks who become unruly or aggressive.
Student Fion Choi said some gamblers will demand that dealers and supervisors smile and remember their names.
“But then, when they lose lots of money they’ll say: Why are you smiling?” said Ms. Choi, a 29-year-old supervisor at Wynn Macau who hopes to land a mid- or senior-level management job after she graduates.
Then there’s the surreal experience of watching high rollers winning and losing huge amounts of money.
Mr. Wong says gamblers, who almost always are mainland Chinese, will bet up to $130,000 on a single hand of baccarat and blow cigarette smoke into his face if they lose.
“We see more and more of these customers,” Mr. Wong said. “I don’t understand how they get their money. They come from a different society, where this kind of thinking is normal.”
Casino jobs pay 30 percent to 40 percent more than those at other companies, Ms. Choi said.
That’s adding to the strain on small businesses, which struggle to survive because they can’t compete with the higher wages.
University graduates, meanwhile, can’t find jobs that pay as much as the starting salaries offered by casinos, said political commentator Larry So, who worries about the impact all the newfound wealth is having on the city’s young.
“The young people nowadays, one of their favorite jobs is to go into a casino, or the government,” said Mr. So. “In the past, casino workers were secluded, a small part of the population. In Chinese culture, we did not look up to these kind of people.”
Now they’ve become such a big and wealthy group, they are the ones that set the values, Mr. So said.