Macau’s Health Bureau announced yesterday a proposal to retain smoking lounges in the city’s casinos and therefore drop a previous plan to implement a zero-smoking regime inside these venues, according to a GGRAsia story.
The bureau’s deputy director, Cheang Seng Ip, said, however, that the new proposal would include higher technical requirements for smoking lounges.
Additionally, smoking at VIP gambling tables would be banned under the proposed new regime. And VIP smoking lounges could not be established as a right of the casino operators, who would need to apply to the government for permission, just as they currently do for smoking lounges on the main floors of casinos.
A number of investment analysts have said that in markets where casino smoking has been banned completely, casino revenues subsequently dipped.
The bureau’s announcement came two days after the public release of results from a survey commissioned from the University of Macau by the city’s six casino operators. The survey indicated more than half of respondents supported the retention of smoking lounges on the main floors of casinos.
The new technical requirements for smoking lounges now proposed by the bureau echo those included in a proposal on that topic by the six operators, who suggested that the lounge specifications were publicly disclosed on Monday along with the results of the opinion survey.
Smoking on the main floors of casinos in Macau is currently only allowed in airport-style enclosed smoking lounges that do not contain any gaming tables or slot machines, but having a cigarette while gambling is allowed in VIP rooms.