Macau Galloping towards Deadline for On-Site Smoking Lounges Applications

Macau’s gaming industry has been known as an international gambling hub with a premium level of offerings available. One of the reasons why the location is so popular is the fact that it provides everyone with a chance to experience premium gambling, thanks to the proposed special smoking areas at casino venues becoming obligatory starting next year.

As it has been confirmed recently by the City’s Health Bureau Head Lei Chin Ion, the government of the Special Administrative Region is currently anticipating the filing in of as many as 600 applications seeking the permission of a smoking lounge construction. There are 39 casino venues currently in operation across Macau, but for the time being only as many as 16 of them have brought to light their applications for specifically dedicated smoking areas. The first one of them was Ponte 16, overseen by SJM Holdings Ltd. and Success Universe Group, voicing intentions back in April.

Following this first application closely, there was another one – Studio City having launched operation earlier this year. It is overseen by the leading giant Melco Resorts and Entertainment and it received green light for the future operation of premium smoking areas throughout its casino area. Up to this point, there have been some 233 applications filed in and some 10 smoking areas have received the nod of the authorities. For the time being, applicants have not been publicly announced, but their number has surged in the past several weeks.

Smoking Ban Aims to Make Casino Experience Pleasant

The deadline for this type of applications was set to 28th September, when casinos would have their last chance to obtain the right to continue allowing smoking on site. It could be recalled that according to the revised set of ruled, starting 1st January 2019 players would be obliged to utilize the special smoking lounges provided by their preferred casino venue. This is estimated to make the gaming experience pleasant for all parties and both smokers and non-smokers could enjoy it without concerns.

The smoking ban was first introduced to the region of Macau back in 2012 and ever since then, the authorities strive to conduct regular and unexpected inspections in locations which are known for their affinity to smoking. More than 43,764 instances of infractions have been listed since then. In the meantime, the ban on smoking was in effect in the mass gaming areas of the casino venues. The permission was exclusive for specifically appointed areas of VIP rooms.

Many people were not content with the level of prohibition which inevitably led to the summer of 2015 when the public supported the idea of an overall ban on smoking in gambling venues. The first month of 2018 also brought a swelling of the sanctions for violations which reach MOP1,500. The next step after all casino developers willing to operate such lounge have made their intentions known, would be an obligatory inspection of every casino facility, striving to ensure its suitability.

Gambling Venues across the World Eliminate Smoke

What should be taken into account is that this move is part of a worldwide wave of battling secondhand smoke and its negative impact on people. Even though smoking is predominantly eyed by lawmakers, vaping is another threat that lingers unnoticed by many jurisdictions. Electronic cigarettes and other vaporizing devices, creating a seemingly harmless vapor by heating a liquid containing nicotine have been perceived as a safe alternative to tobacco smoke.

US states to the likings of Massachusetts and Ohio have been working towards eliminating this unexpected damaging practice. Fines reaching from $100 to $300 would be implemented for those who trespass the law in Massachusetts. The recently launched casino resort MGM Springfield would also be subjected to the regulation prohibiting tobacco smoking as well.

Meanwhile, casino venues across the state of Ohio have been working under such regulation ever since 2013, providing a good example to other states as well. Within the ranges of Macau’s smoking bans, vaping has also been featured as potentially harmful practice in enclosed spaces.