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Macau chief executive says no link between smoking and revenue drop

Macau’s chief executive said he saw no direct link between banning smoking in casinos and the drop in gaming revenues, the government’s information bureau reported.

Talking to media before departing for his official trip to Beijing, Fernando Chui Sai On said the 12 month revenue declines are not the result of the smoking ban already implemented and that the government will observe whether the future full smoking ban will affect gaming revenues.

He said that the one-year decline in gaming revenues prior to the implementation of a full smoking ban suggests that the government’s smoking policy is not the reason dragging revenues down.

Currently, smokers may only smoke in designated lounges, however, a universal smoking ban in the pipeline will mean even those areas will be off limits to smokers, including in VIP gaming rooms.

Chui added that the government has a well-established financial system of basic fiscal reserves, foreign currency reserves and surplus reserves, to buffer the fall in gaming revenues.

Macau’s six casino operators jointly announced this week the findings of an independent study into the attitudes towards proposed tobacco control legislation, revealing that two thirds of casino employees back smoking lounges.

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