The Macau government is easing its position on smoking inside casinos, and that’s much-welcomed news to resort operators who are desperately trying to stabilize revenues.
Smoking lounges will remain open inside casinos after the Macau government reversed its opinion on making the city a smoke-free territory.
The health bureau’s revision is a win for casinos, as patrons would have otherwise been forced to routinely exit the resort to smoke a cigarette or cigar. However, the agency is also suggesting to the legislature that while lounges should be permitted, special smoking exemptions for VIP rooms and tables should be annulled.
The city’s health bureau has been pushing a citywide indoor smoking ban dating back to July 2015. The effort was in response to the Macau Legislative Assembly passing a bill now seven years ago that set a goal of making the region a tobacco and smoke-free territory. In 2013, smoking inside casinos became restricted to designated lounges.
The office makes suggestions to the government’s legislative arm, and it hopes the chamber will introduce and pass a bill based on its latest recommendations this summer.
Macau’s Health Director Cheang Seng said the reason for his department’s policy change was in part due to a recent survey conducted by the University of Macau that found 55 percent of employees support retaining smoking lounges.
‘We cannot ignore this fact,’ Seng explained.