A total of 404 requests for upgraded smoking lounges in Macau gaming venues had been received by Friday, the deadline for such paperwork to be submitted, said the city’s Health Bureau.
A week before the deadline, Lei Chin Ion, the bureau head, said his department was expecting 600 such requests. Multiple requests can be made for a single venue. But in any case, only 27 out of 47 officially-defined gaming venues had asked for such facilities by the Friday deadline.
Mr Lei had mentioned the bureau could not guarantee that any applications for new smoking lounges filed after the September 28 cut-off point could be approved in time for when new rules come into force on January 1, 2019.
According to a bureau press release issued on Friday, SJM Holdings Ltd, founded by Stanley Ho Hung Sun, the former monopolist in the local casino market – and which runs Casino Lisboa and Casino Grand Lisboa – did not make any requests for new-look smoking lounges in its core properties by deadline day. So-called satellites of SJM Holdings – venues owned by third parties but making use of its gaming licence – did make requests.
All Macau gaming venues wanting to continue to offer on-site smoking to patrons must apply to the local authorities to operate the new, higher-standard lounges, said to have better air extraction equipment than is mandated under the current regulatory regime. From January 1, 2019, only authorised, enhanced, lounges will be permitted in the local market.
The aggregate list of defined venues includes slot parlours, although no slot parlour applications were mentioned in the list released on Friday.
The list of casino operators – defined by the locally-registered Macau company that technically holds the local licence – and venues that had made bids by Friday was as follows: Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA – Kampek Paradise casino, Casino Diamond, Casa Real Hotel Macau, Casino Lan Kwai Fong Macau, Club VIP Legend, Casino Fortuna, Emperor Palace Casino, Babylon Casino, Casino Ponte 16, Casino Arc of Triumph, and Casino Legend Palace.
Wynn Resorts (Macau) SA – Casino Wynn Macau and Casino Wynn Palace; Galaxy Casino SA – Casino Rio, Casino Broadway, Casino StarWorld and Casino Galaxy Macau; Venetian Macau SA – Casino Sands, Casino Venetian, Casino Plaza, Casino Sands Cotai Central and Casino Parisian Macao; MGM Grand Paradise SA – Casino MGM Macau and Casino MGM Cotai; Melco Resorts (Macau) SA – Casino Altira, Casino City of Dreams and Casino Studio City, Macau.
Friday’s announcement by the Health Bureau confirmed that the local authorities had so far approved an aggregate of 12 of the new-standard smoking lounges. They were for: Ponte 16 under the SJM Holdings licence; and Studio City and City of Dreams Macau, under the Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd licence.
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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