New Smoking Restrictions for Macau?

The government of Macau is expected to announce new restrictions on smoking in casinos, says Alexis Tam Chon Weng, the new secretary for Social Affairs and Culture. An announcement of the new rules could be made in March.

Decline in revenues will not influence policy

Alexis Tam Chon Weng, China’s new Health Bureau chief, told reporters last month that the government could announce changes in the smoking rules for casinos later this year. Tam said the government’s long-term goal is to implement a full smoking ban in all gaming halls. He added that the ongoing decline in monthly casino gross gaming revenue, which started in June, will have no effect on the government’s policy decisions.

“The health of gaming employees will not be compromised by the drop in gaming revenues,” Tam said.

According to GGRAsia, a smoking ban in public places was first introduced in Macau in 2012 and introduced at gaming venues in January 2013. At first, casinos and slot parlors were permitted to reserve 50 percent of their gaming floors as smoking areas.

Now smoking on casino floors is only allowed in enclosed smoking rooms with no gaming tables or slot machines, or in high roller rooms. Macau’s Federation of Trade Unions supports a full smoking ban in the city’s casinos.

Ella Lei Cheng I, vice president of the federation, said it’s unfair to implement an indoor smoking ban everywhere but in casinos. “That is unfair to gaming employees,” she told the Macau News. “I hope the government will really come up with concrete measures to implement a blanket smoking ban in all gaming venues. We don’t want any more rhetoric.”