Two thirds of casino employees back smoking lounges: survey

Macau’s six casino operators jointly announced the findings of an independent study into the attitudes towards proposed tobacco control legislation, which would ban all smoking inside casinos, saying a majority of employees back the retention of smoking lounges.

The initial results of the study, conducted on behalf of Galaxy Entertainment Group, Melco Crown Entertainment, MGM Grand Paradise, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, Venetian Macau, and Wynn Resorts (Macau), S.A. covers casino employees and customers.

In a statement, the casino operators said while they support the Macau government’s Smoking Control Act, they are “united in their stand that smoking lounges for patrons should be maintained and that careful consideration must be given to all the ramifications that an enactment of the proposed law would have.”

The study shows that among almost 34,000 participating employees of the six casino operators, 66 percent support smoking lounges within the casinos. The respondents were made up of 81 percent gaming and 19 percent non-gaming employees, including smokers and non-smokers.

In addition, 47 percent of VIP customers and 31 percent of mass customers are concerned that a full smoking ban will have a detrimental impact on employment and Macau’s economy more generally.

“Even as Macau is facing growing competition throughout the region, the independent research clearly shows that VIPs would reduce their visits to Macau by 17 percent and their length of stay by 24 percent with a full smoking ban in place. Furthermore, 32 percent said they would travel to alternative gaming destinations due to the fact that these places allow smoking inside casinos.”

The statement goes on to say that since the gaming floor smoking-ban came into effect on 6 October 2014, informal feedback on the smoking lounges from employees and customers alike has been largely positive.

 However, the casino companies said “there is strong support to retain well-constructed smoking lounges, and that a full smoking ban could have a negative impact on Macau’s wider economy.”