The Health Bureau in Macau says that since January, 536 cases of illegal smoking inside local casinos have been prosecuted by the agency; almost 80 percent of which it says were committed by tourists, as reported by Macau Business Daily.
According to the Bureau, over the past 10 months, 413 joint inspections of local casinos were conducted by it and the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). Of the 536 cases that were prosecuted, 427 were attributed to violations by tourists, which accounted for 79.7 percent. Local residents committed 106 smoking violations attributing to 19.8 percent and non-resident workers committed three violations, or .06 percent, according to the report.
Since October 2014, cigarette smoking is only permitted in VIP rooms in or in authorized airport-style lounges on the mass gaming floor of the city’s casinos. The current policy also bans smoking in other indoor venues such as bars, restaurants, saunas, discos, and karaoke parlors.
According to the health agency, of the 264,824 inspections it has conducted since January, 5,606 people have been prosecuted for illegal smoking. Local resident accounted for 62 percent at 3,473, while prosecution of tourists for the illegal act amounted to 1,893 or 33.8 percent of the total. Meanwhile, 234 or 4.2 percent were attributed to non-residential workers.
Regarding venue, the most significant violations were seen at Internet cafes, with 1,039 violations, 684 at public parks, and 622 at game centers.
The 2014 smoking ban in Macau exempted VIP rooms and enclosed lounges that were without gaming machines, however, while the smoking debate intensifies, as part of a scheduled revision of its tobacco control laws, the government could possibly do away with the exemptions and instead institute a smoking ban that would make it illegal to do so anywhere inside of the Chinese special administrative region’s casinos.