At the beginning of the year 2019, Macau had imposed very strict regulations on multiple casinos in the area, that there would be no smoking allowed within the premises of the building. This was quite a large hit, as smoking and gambling are something that pretty much cannot exist without each other, that’s what movies teach us and that’s what the reality is honestly. However, the restrictions seem to have not worked as quite a lot of violation cases have already been cited with a number of popular Macau casinos.
A report was made by the Macau Health Bureau on May 31st, states that the biggest violators of the city’s imposed restrictions on tobacco smoking are casinos and any other gambling venues. The MHB made a round of visiting every single casino in the city over the course of five months ever since the restriction was imposed alongside the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. It was reported that around 725 visits were conducted, among which a little less than 700 violations were discovered, which represent more than a quarter of all violations across every venue and company in the city, regardless of the industry they operate in.
Was smoking completely banned?
Smoking tobacco was not banned completely, that needs to be made clear. Only a few casinos in the city, that featured VIP spaces were allowed to feature smoking rooms and various other activities, cigar clubs were actually quite popular in the designated VIP rooms. Out of the 47 venues that operate within Macau, the majority of them held a license for a VIP space but looks like nearly all of them violate the law outside of that private area.
However, the VIP rooms were also affected by the New Year’s regulation when tobacco smoking was banned completely. However, the casinos believed that it being a closed off area, it would not hurt to allow their VIP guests to grab a few puffs.
It seems like the Health Bureau realized that imposing the ban is not going to help in terms of reducing the smoking habits of the gamblers, therefore it approved around 550 new smoking lounges in order to limit the violations. However, many say that they may have awakened the beast by providing these licenses, as only 31 casinos are now allowed to feature the lounges, while there are 16 more remaining that are vying for that right.
It is not clear what direction the future regulations may take, but it’s clear that the 2019 amendment was not successful. Seeing more than 90% of the cases violate the rule is definitely not a positive marker.
Although it should be commended that the Health Bureau is trying to limit the unhealthy habit of smoking, it still needs to be said that casinos mostly rely on allowing their customers to smoke, if they ever want to invite them in their venues. It can also be argued that casinos themselves are unhealthy habits, but they are the fuel of Macau’s economy and are simply indisposable.