Macau’s casino operators think it is feasible to adopt a Macau government proposal that would see air extraction systems for casino smoking lounges meet air extraction standards normally associated with hospitals and medical laboratories, said Ambrose So Shu Fai (pictured), chief executive of Macau-based casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd.
Mr So was speaking on Thursday in Beijing, in what is understood to be the first public comment from the industry regarding some counter-proposals put by the Macau authorities to the industry’s own proposals for smoking lounge enhanced technical standards.
The industry’s original set of proposals was a trade-off for being allowed to keep such facilities. The industry initiative was submitted to the government in December, but only revealed to the public last month.
Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam Chon Weng, noted to Macau media on February 20 that one of the government’s counter-proposals was that the so-called “negative pressure” mechanism for such smoking lounges – to ensure tobacco smoke from the lounges is efficiently sucked up by the ventilation systems and doesn’t escape onto a casino floor via the lounge doors – should be set at -5 pascal, with a “pascal” being a scientific unit of pressure. The city’s six casino operators had suggested a technical requirement of -1 pascal.
The government’s counter-proposal also includes a provision for smoking lounges in VIP gambling areas, with VIP tableside smoking to be banned.
Speaking in Beijing on Thursday, where Mr So was attending the latest meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, he noted to reporters that Macau casino operators had already told Macau’s Health Bureau that the sector would be able to live with a -5 pascal technical standard.
“The [negative pressure] level at -5 [pascal] is a very high standard that is usually applied in hospitals and laboratories. The main aim of adopting the negative pressure mechanism [for smoking lounges] is to prevent the diffusion of smoke,” Mr So told the media, adding “this standard is achievable for us [casino operators].”
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Chief executive of Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings