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Government open minded on smoking lounges in casinos

The Macau government has relaxed its resolute tone on a full smoking ban in casinos, after the secretary for social affairs said the government would keep an open mind on whether casinos can retain smoking lounges, including in VIP rooms, according to Bernstein Research.

Alexis Tam, once the Macau government's most vocal proponent of a full smoking ban, indicated that the government is willing to view the consultation result and consider it for the next step, Bernstein Research wrote in a note. 

“If the result really shows that the general public and the gaming practitioners all agree on setting up smoking rooms within casinos, and that the technical conditions can also ensure that second-hand smoke doesn’t leak out, the MSAR government will invite the sector to give suggestions and discuss the standards for smoking room setups," said Tam.

"But during the discussion, we also need to learn about the practitioners’ acceptance level and whether they agree on the standard. If the practitioners also think it’s no problem, the MSAR government will be open to considering the next step of work," he said. 

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Law amendment is currently with the Second Standing Committee at Macau's Legislative Assembly. The committee previously indicated it may take up to one year to complete the public consultation before the bill returns to the LA for second and final read.

Tam added that the government is open-minded on the possibility of setting up smoking lounges in VIP rooms, “the first time the government has outright mentioned this possibility,” Analyst Vitaly Umansky said in the note.


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