New Macau casino smoking laws will see dedicated lounges created for high rollers

  • Tableside smoking will be banned in VIP areas
  • Operators can construct smoking rooms for high rollers

Smoking lounges are set to be a new feature of Macau casinos after new laws which are set to outlaw lighting up at the gaming tables.

New rules in Macau will see new smoking lounges introduced.
New rules in Macau will see new smoking lounges introduced. Picture: ThinkStock

On Monday, Macau’s government revealed the new technical regulations concerning smoking in the city’s casinos, in order to enable Macau casino operators to abide by the new public smoking policy passed by the Legislative Assembly in July.

The new regulations make it illegal to permit tableside smoking in VIP areas, but casino operators will be permitted to build designated smoking lounges – which must be gaming free – in casino floor areas set aside for high rollers.

Operators will also be permitted to continue to set aside smoking lounges on the regular casino floors.

The new rules were introduced in a letter from Alexi Tam Chon Weng, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, and were published in Monday’s Official Gazette.

New guidelines

The new guidelines also stipulate that all gaming tables and machines should be at least three metres distant from the entrance of any smoking lounges, though this distance can be reduced to two metres if there is a wall marking off the lounge.

The fresh regulations also call for stricter standards on what is known as the ‘negative pressure’ mechanism for smoking lounges. This will now be set at -5 pascals when the doors to the smoking lounge are closed, whereas previously the Macau government had avoided setting a specific figure for negative pressure.

Smoking lounges are also required to have one entrance, with automated sliding doors and an alarm system. Smoking must be prohibited inside the room for two hours before any cleaning activity and cleaning staff will be required to wear protective masks. Operators will also have to take steps to ensure their workers’ health is not affected by smoke.

Under Macau’s amended Regime on Tobacco Prevention and Control – due to come into effect on January 1 next year – all casinos in the city will have one year to arrange the installation of smoking lounges in VIP areas, while all existing smoking lounges will be required to adhere to the new standards January 1, 2019.

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