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Blanket smoking ban still likely despite opposition

The Macau government said it will remain resolute in its decision to implement a blanket smoking ban in casinos despite facing pressure from gaming operators and that an amendment bill on the ban will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly soon.

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam made the comments on the sidelines of an anti-smoking event co-organized by the Macau Smoking and Healthy Life Association, Macau News reported. The official’s words also chime with a tough new ban the mainland government has introduced on smoking indoors in Beijing.

“The gaming operators say they hope that smoking lounges can be set up in the VIP gaming areas … some junket operators also say that they want smoking lounges in VIP areas,” Tam was quoted as saying.

“Definitely, [the government’s determination to implement a blanket smoking ban in casinos] will not be affected,” he said, adding that most residents were supportive of the ban in casinos.

Tam said the correlation between smoking and gaming revenues seems unrelated as mass gaming has increased following smoking restrictions.

“I know representatives from the gaming industry said they worry that the gaming revenues would drop once a full smoking ban is implemented…however the gaming revenue has fallen for 11 consecutive months, particularly the VIP rooms’ revenues even though they are allowed to have smoking areas.”

“The gaming revenue from mass gaming floors has increased… so there is no relation between smoking and the gaming revenues,” Tam was quoted by Macau News as saying.

He added that the government was in the final stages of drafting its amendment bill on a blanket smoking ban in all indoor workplaces, which would be submitted to the legislature soon.



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