Blanket ban on smoking legislation in Macau delayed

Casinos currently allow gamblers to smoke in VIP enclosures and at airport-style lounges.

Macau’s Legislative Assembly is considering imposing a blanket ban on all forms of smoking and tobacco related products in casinos.

Macau.- Back in 2015, Macau legislators proposed a new bill in 2015 that would impose a blanket ban on all forms of smoking and tobacco related products.

Macau lawmakers examined the bill on July 10 and send it to the legislative assembly for review. The assembly put together a working committee to examine the pros and cons of the proposed bill and submit a final report. So far, Macau’s Legislative Assembly no final report has been submitted and the Assembly takes a summer break in August. It seems likely that the full report could be submitted after the August break for a final reading and vote.

Legislator Chan Chak Mo said in a statement: “We will be meeting with a few [more] groups – labour groups and tobacco traders – to listen to their opinions on the bill. We’re also collecting more economic data regarding the impact of the bill. So at this stage I don’t know if the bill can be passed [before August].”

At first, the majority of Macau’s lawmakers were supporting the blanket smoking ban. However, after a KPMG survey on Macau’s casino industry stated that a blanket smoking ban could reduce Macau’s gross domestic product by 16 percent, the support faded.

Wynn Macau Ltd, Sands China Ltd, MGM China Holdings Ltd, SJM Holdings Ltd, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd and the Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd oppose the bill. Furthermore, the working committee has postponed submitting its report whilst it discusses the blanket smoking ban with senior executives from these six casino concessionaires, junket operators and local labour groups. The committee is also reviewing two other bills and it is expected to make a decision on Macau’s smoking bill before the end of 2016.