Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the city’s casino regulator, on Friday said that the upcoming smoking ban on casino mass floors has not led to an increase in requests by gaming operators to set up more limited access gaming areas.
“Prior to the new regulations, the set-up of ‘areas of limited access to certain games and certain players’ already had to be approved by DICJ,” the statement said. The note explained this included not only VIP rooms but also restricted access high-limit gaming areas.
“Up until now, we have not recorded any new request to set up new gaming areas or to change those previously authorised, because of the enactment of the smoking rules,” the regulator added.
The statement comes after representatives from three casino labour activist groups last week warned about casino operators converting part of their mass-market floor areas, namely high-limit gaming areas, into limited access areas to allow smoking and gambling inside.
All mass-market gaming floors in Macau must go smoke-free starting from October 6, following that month’s Golden Week holiday, which includes the National Day celebrations of the People’s Republic of China on October 1.
According to the new rules, casino operators can however ask to set up smoking areas with gaming tables and slot machines on non-main floor zones “that are of limited access to specific games and gamblers”. This covers not only VIP rooms but also premium mass gambling areas when they are on isolated rooms or separated from the main casino floor by “physical barriers”.
In Friday’s statement, the regulator also praised the cooperation of the city’s six gaming operators in ensuring a smooth implementation of the new anti-smoking rules.
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