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Macau Legislative Assembly bans smoking in VIP gaming areas

Monday, 17 July 2017 07:04
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The Macau Legislative Assembly has approved its revised tobacco bill, banning smoking in VIP gaming areas and applying stricter technical requirements to smoking lounges in Macau’s casinos.

The updated Regime on Tobacco Prevention and Control, which comes into effect from 1 January 2018, will give operators one year in which to implement the new measures, including the installation of smoking lounges without gaming facilities in or near VIP areas. The exact specifications of smoking lounges will be determined at a later date.

The issue of smoking in casinos has been a hot topic ever since smoking was first banned from mass gaming floors in October 2014, with legislators mulling over a range of possibilities since including banning all smoking from the city’s casinos, including in smoking lounges.

In June 2015, Macau’s concessionaires released the results of an independent survey of 34,000 casino employees in which they claimed that 66% of employees supported the retention and development of smoking lounges in Macau’s casinos.

The survey followed an earlier study by Macau’s Health Bureau stating that 70% of residents, 80% of casino workers and 85% of tourists supported a full ban on smoking in casinos, including in VIP rooms.

The Legislative Assembly announced in February this year that smoking lounges would remain.

However, the new ban on smoking in VIP areas hasn’t gone down well with legislator Angela Leong, also Managing Director and CEO of SJM, who called for more “flexible” standards to be applied to Macau’s smaller satellite casinos during Friday’s meeting.

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