The aggregate number of charges filed by Macau authorities for instances of smoking in unauthorised areas inside the city’s casinos reached 262 in the first two months of 2018, according to government data. That is an increase of 188 percent from the prior-year period, show official data.
Statistics from Macau’s Health Bureau show that a total of 138 site inspections were conducted inside casinos between January and end-February – up from 92 inspections in the first two months of 2017.
Smokers that light a tobacco product in no-smoking areas are subject to a fine of MOP1,500 (US$186).
In its latest release, issued on Tuesday, the bureau also stated it was aware of a petition by workers complaining local casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd had persistently broken Macau’s anti-smoking legislation at its Wynn Palace casino resort.
The Health Bureau stated no authorisation had been granted to the property to establish gambling VIP rooms for smokers. The release added the bureau and Macau’s gaming regulator – the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – had been working together to ensure compliance with Macau’s anti-smoking legislation inside the city’s casinos.
The Macau government banned in October 2014 smoking on casino mass floors. An exception was made for tobacco use in enclosed smoking lounges – facilities without gaming machines or tables – located on some casino mass-market floors in the city.
Having a cigarette while gambling is at present still allowed in selected VIP rooms. But Macau’s Legislative Assembly approved in July 2017 a revised bill on smoking that bans tableside tobacco use in these venues.
Although the new rules apply from last January, tableside smoking at VIP rooms will in effect be able to continue until January 1, 2019, as casinos were given a year’s grace period to set up VIP smoking lounges.
Under the city’s newly-amended Regime on Tobacco Prevention and Control, all smoking lounges in casinos – including the existing ones set up on mass floors since the ban on free-for-all casino smoking – will also have to conform to enhanced technical standards.
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“We expect Las Vegas Sands to not have any material change in strategy. The focus remains developing Macau and Singapore”
Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Tianjiao Yu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein