Gaming operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd told GGRAsia it will challenge the Macau government’s decision to fine its City of Dreams Macau casino resort (pictured) for allegedly breaching the city’s ban on smoking in public places.
“The company intends to pursue a judicial review of this matter to ensure proper implementation of the smoking regulations as they now stand,” a spokesperson from Melco Crown told GGRAsia.
The person added: “Melco Crown Entertainment operates its casinos in compliance with Macau legal requirements and requisite governmental approvals. The legality of [the] government’s recent actions related to non-smoking signs is debatable.”
The Macau government announced on Wednesday that City of Dreams Macau had been fined MOP100,000 (US$12,524) for allegedly failing to post ‘no smoking’ signs in one area inside its casino, even after ordered by Macau’s Health Bureau.
“The decision [to issue the fine] was made after the Health Bureau investigated the casino, which was suspected of having illegally established a smoking area on its mass casino floor, and after analysing an appeal filed by Melco Crown,” the bureau said in a press statement issued on Wednesday night.
Melco Crown disputes the bureau’s view and argues the area in question complies with all the requirements to be allowed to offer guests the possibility to gamble while simultaneously smoking.
According to rule changes enacted on October 6, smoking on casino main floors in Macau is now only allowed in enclosed smoking lounges that do not contain any gaming tables or slot machines. But puffing a cigarette while gambling is currently still allowed in VIP rooms.
On Thursday, the Macau government announced it plans to propose a full ban on smoking inside casinos. The ban would prevent smoking even inside VIP rooms and would also mean that smoking lounges on mass floors would no longer be allowed. But Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam Chon Weng, admitted it is unlikely the changes will be approved by the city’s legislature before this summer.
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Lionel Leong Vai Tac
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance