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Macau finance secretary dismisses smoking room appeal

Macau’s junket association appears to be running out of luck in appealing the impending smoking ban after the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong, dismissed requests for smoking rooms in VIP gaming areas.

This rejection comes shortly after secretary Alexis Tam also asserted his position against the request in a meeting with the group three days ago.

 Kwok Chi Chung, the head of the association, said the refusal to grant smoking rooms might “deal a deadly blow” to businesses which have already been dented by plunging gaming revenues since China launched its anti-corruption campaign, the Macau Daily reported

Leong stressed that the junket operators should “take social responsibility” for their businesses , and that public health takes priority over gaming revenue.

MGM China CEO Grant Bowie also called for casinos to be able to retain smoking lounges. While the company supports the ban, the customers’ interests also have to be taken into account, he was cited as saying by TDM Macau.

“We clearly support the initiatives of the government in terms of protecting the interest of the staff, and therefore, have supported the banning of smoking on the gaming floor but we would also suggest that we should allow people to smoke in smoking lounges,” he said.


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