A total of 1,431 people received cash fines in Macau in the first 10 months of 2018 for smoking in unauthorised areas inside the city’s casinos, according to government data. That is an increase of 83.7 percent from the prior-year period, when a total of 779 people had been fined, show official data released on Wednesday.
Statistics from Macau’s Health Bureau indicated that a total of 725 site inspections were conducted inside casinos between January and end-October – up from 560 inspections in the first 10 months of 2017.
In its latest press release, the bureau said fines for smoking inside casinos accounted for 30.5 percent of the aggregate number of incidents involving smoking in prohibited areas as recorded in the first 10 months of 2018.
The Health Bureau said additionally that during October it had noted higher incidence of smoking cases in a few locations, including at casino hotel Sands Macao, operated by Sands China Ltd.
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 VIP rooms.
Macau’s Legislative Assembly approved on July 14 a revised bill on smoking that bans tableside tobacco use in VIP rooms. Although the new rules apply from January 1, 2018, tableside smoking at VIP rooms will in effect be able to continue until January 1, 2019, as casinos have been 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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Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance