In Macau, only two casinos have received permission for smoking rooms

10 August 2018

As reported by the Health Bureau on August 7, to date, only two gambling establishments in Macau have been approved by the city authorities for smoking areas, in accordance with a new set of technical standards.

From a total of 47 gambling establishments in Macau by July 31, have only 11 submitted for applications regarding areas for smoking.

The document did not specify which establishments submitted applications. It was only said that 11 gambling establishments submitted 68 requests for the approval of smoking areas.

Out of 68 applications, 10 rooms for smoking in the territory of two gambling facilities were given permission from the city authorities.

The approval of the first application was announced in April. It was filed by the Ponte 16 casino hotel, a joint venture of SJM Holdings Ltd casino operator and Success Universe Group Ltd.

Macao gaming operators need to apply for new smoking rooms until September 28, to have the slightest chance of obtaining a permit before the new rules for smoking in the casinos will take effect (January 1, 2019). The Health Bureau chose as the deadline on September 28, based on the time spent on testing and approving smoking areas in accordance with the new set of technical standards.

In October 2014, the Macau government banned smoking in the casino halls for a large number of visitors. An exception were only closed rooms dedicated for smoking — rooms without gaming machines or tables - located on some floors of the mass market casino in the city.

On July 14 of the last year, the Macau Legislative Assembly approved a revised bill on smoking, which prohibits it in gambling halls for a VIP clients. Despite the fact that the new rules came into force on January 1, 2018, in fact, smoking at the table in the VIP-halls will be allowed until January 1, 2019.

The current halls for smoking in the casino, available on the floors for mass games since the ban on free smoking in the casino, will need to be converted in accordance with new requirements. If after 1st of January 2019 any existing halls of the current model will be found without the necessary technical updates, the operators may be fined for $24,747.

The Health Bureau added that in the first 7 months of 2018, the total number of charges related to smoking in the unauthorized territory of the city's casino was 964.

However, some experts believe that a ban on smoking can reduce the competitiveness of the region.

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