In Macau, new rules have reportedly come into force that prohibit patrons from smoking tobacco anywhere on a casino floor except in designated airtight ‘lounges’ that must be approved by authorities in line with enhanced technical standards.

Year-long exemption:

According to a report from GGRAsia, the new prohibition is part of the Regime on Tobacco Prevention and Control system that was approved by the city’s 33-member Legislative Assembly in July of 2017. This legislation came into effect from January 1, 2018, but contained a provision that gave Macau’s over 30 casinos a year-long grace period in order to alter their policies on smoking and construct their non-gaming ‘lounges.’

Numerous authorizations:

The Macau Health Bureau reportedly explained that it has so far authorized some 378 game-free smoking ‘lounges’ inside the city’s many casinos while revealing that this tally could eventually rise by almost 7% come the end of the year to hit 404.

Missing applications:

The government department also reportedly detailed that 13 local gaming venues had so far not applied for permission to operate smoking ‘lounges’ with this list said to include the Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited-licensed Casino de Presidente alongside seven Mocha Clubs-branded slot venues controlled by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited.

It declared that SJM Holdings Limited had thus far moreover not asked for permission to offer smoking facilities at its Macau Jockey Club Casino, which is located inside the Macau Roosevelt Hotel, as well as inside its Grandview Casino, Eastern Casino, Royal Dragon Casino and Casino Grand Dragon.

Partial VIP exemption:

GGRAsia reported that the new prohibition additionally covers tableside smoking, which had been especially popular inside VIP player areas, although gambling venues are able to escape this portion of the ban so long as they agree to install better air extraction systems.

First violations:

The first day of the new smoking policy was reportedly not followed by everyone as the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau joined with the Macau Health Bureau to state that they had filed grievances against five people for enjoying tobacco outside of designated areas. The government departments purportedly furthermore revealed that the Tobacco Prevention and Control Office had received complaints against five casinos via a new anti-smoking hotline.