Smoking lounges here to stay: Govt

The Macau government has reportedly proposed amendments to the smoking bill which would allow the establishment of smoking lounges in the city’s casinos, local media reports.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, the Health Bureau said the amendments are in line with the survey results commissioned by the city’s gaming operators.

The survey, which sought the opinion of over 14,000 Macau gaming employees on smoking lounges in casinos saw around 55 percent of employees being in favor of the lounges.

The government in a Monday press release said it would “mull suggestions regarding the possible retention of existing smoking lounges in local casinos and whether new lounges could be established. It would take into account technical standards of smoking lounges in other countries, in order further to protect the health of casino employees.” It continued on to say that the smoking lounges were a “further step” into the Legislative Assembly’s procedures to amend the law.

On Wednesday’s press briefing, Health Bureau vice-director Cheang Seng Ip said improvements to smoking lounges as proposed by the city’s gaming concessionaires “offer high standards, which are viable and feasible.”

The new proposed amendments to the bill will see changes to the operation of VIP rooms in regards to smoking, as well as mass gaming floors.

“VIP rooms will only have smoking lounges. They will no longer be [full] smoking areas,” said Cheang.

Smoking is prohibited on mass gaming floors, and will only be permitted in smoking lounges.

Asked whether there would be a limit on the number of smoking lounges each casino can build, Cheang said there was no cap on the number, rather it would be dependent on the size of the gaming floor and smoking area.

Operators would be required to request authorization from the Health Bureau in order to establish smoking lounges in their casinos.