A total of 648 people has been fined in Macau in full year 2016 for smoking in unauthorised areas inside the city’s casinos, according to government data. That is an increase of 32.2 percent compared to 2015, when a total of 490 people had been fined, show the official data.
Statistics from Macau’s Health Bureau show that a total of 505 site inspections related to smoking were conducted inside casinos in 2016 – up from 424 inspections in full year 2015.
The majority of those fined for smoking in unauthorised areas of casinos last year – 80.2 percent – were tourists, according to a Wednesday press release from the Health Bureau. A total of 520 tourists has been fined in 2016, up by 32.7 percent from the previous year.
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 – located on some casino mass-market floors in the city. Having a cigarette while gambling is at present still allowed in VIP rooms.
The Macau government has been pushing for a full smoking ban inside casinos as part of a scheduled revision of the city’s tobacco control law. But a majority on the Macau Legislative Assembly working committee asked to scrutinise the revised tobacco control bill, currently supports the retention of smoking lounges on casino main floors.
Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam Chon Weng, said in December that the city’s government was mulling a U-turn regarding the proposed full smoking ban inside casinos. Officials were assessing a proposal to keep smoking lounges – provided they are free of any gaming tables or machines – on gaming floors, he said at the time.
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“All of the [casino] concessionaires in Macau respect the law in China, and we never promote gaming in China”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China