A Macau gaming labour activist group has called for blacklisting of casino customers repeatedly caught smoking in areas where tobacco use is forbidden.
The group’s leader, Cloee Chao (pictured, third right), delivered to the city’s Legislative Assembly on Tuesday afternoon such a request in a letter addressed to Macau’s Chief Executive, Fernando Chui Sai On.
Ms Chao’s group – Professional for Gaming of New Macau – says that anyone recorded by the Tobacco Prevention and Control Office as having committed a smoking rule offence twice, “should not be allowed to enter casinos”. Were such a rule introduced, it should apply retrospectively in the following sense: anyone already on record has having been caught twice would be barred for any third offence.
“What we are worried about is that even when the [revised smoking control] law comes into effect in 2019, the gamblers will not be willing to leave their tables to smoke in the smoking lounges…” Ms Chao told us. “For these gamblers, especially the VIP players, the existing fine is a small amount for them and not a deterrent at all,” she added
Smokers that light a tobacco product in no-smoking areas are subject to a fine of MOP1,500 (US$186).
Macau’s Legislative Assembly approved on July 14, 2017 a revised bill on smoking that bans tableside tobacco use in VIP rooms. Although the new rules apply from January 1, 2018, tableside smoking at VIP rooms will in effect be able to continue until January 1, 2019, as casinos have been given a year’s grace period to set up VIP smoking lounges.
“In some VIP gaming rooms, they have already banned customers from smoking tableside, but this has not worked out very well. We are also doubtful about the enforcement effort concerning [casino smoking ban] violations,” Ms Chao added.
She also noted that her group would schedule meetings to discuss the issue of strengthening smoking control inside casinos with the city’s casino regulator Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, and Tobacco Prevention and Control Office.
On April 10, around 200 people marched to Wynn Macau, a casino resort operated by Macau-based gaming concessionaire Wynn Macau Ltd, to demand the company stringently implement the city’s anti-smoking legislation.
Choi Kam Fu, the director general of a labour group called Macau Gaming Enterprise Staff’s Association, accompanied those on the march. Mr Choi told GGRAsia at the time that those marching were mainly frustrated by what they claimed was Wynn Macau Ltd’s inaction on the issue of smoking control even after a signature collection that took place in March.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China