Macau’s Health Bureau granted permission for several new-style smoking lounges in Macau’s gaming venues.
Macau.- During September alone, Macau’s Health Bureau granted permission for 23 new-style smoking lounges in Macau’s gaming venues, according to an update published on Wednesday.
On the last day of the month, there was an aggregate of 606 new-style smoking lounges – as required under recently-updated legislation – for a total of 34 gaming venues in the city. The figures point to a simple average – not accounting for variation in the size of Macau gaming properties – of 18 smoking lounges per casino venue in Macau.
The Health Bureau noted on Wednesday that as of September 30 it had received requests for an aggregate of 650 smoking lounges from 34 gaming venues in Macau.
There are currently 45 gaming venues in operation in Macau, according to local casino regulator: Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. Many of the venues have either multiple gaming floors or multiple gaming areas. Commonly, including VIP zones often physically separate from the main gaming facilities.
Crackdown on smoking
Smoking was first prohibited in 2014, except for designated enclosed areas. In January 2018, VIP rooms also joined the ban. However, authorities granted an additional year to comply.
Several investment analysts had mentioned previously that the full application – with effect from January 1, 2019 – of new smoking rules were however, a headwind for the gaming sector.
In Wednesday’s written announcement, the Health Bureau said it conducted 994 joint patrols of Macau gaming floors with officials, registering 1.079 cases of alleged smoking rule violations, down 14.5% from the prior-year period.
In short, those incidents accounted for 25.9% of public smoking infractions citywide in the first nine months of 2019. Casinos are the biggest single source of Macau’s reported smoking rule violations so far this year, according to the bureau.
In addition, both City of Dreams’ casino, operated by Melco Resorts and Entertainment, and the casino at Venetian Macao run by Sands China Ltd, were identified as “black spots” for alleged smoking rule violations.