Macau is a great place to be a gambler. But if you do like smoking, then you may get into a bit of trouble indeed, because the casino rooms will get hit with a new anti-smoking legislation as early as January 1, 2019. There are a few wrinkles to this however, and we’re here to examine them.
As per the official decision of the government, the New Tobacco Control Act will come into effect on January 1, 2019. The new legislation was developed by Macau’s Health Bureau. As a result, any facility that fails to implement the measures will have to pay a fine worth MOP$200,000 and also shut down its activities.
Even though this seems stringer, regulators are aware that slapping such a deadline on casinos simply won’t work. As a result, casino operators will have a bit of a leeway implementing the ban in full force within 12 months. After the final cog of the ban has clicked, smoking will only be allowed in places that have been specifically equipped for the purposes of smoking.
Letting the Smoke Out
The measures have been necessitated by the fact that half of Macau’s operators haven’t in fact introduced the necessary equipment. Reported 27 out of 47 casino operators have installed the ventilated rooms, but there ae quite a few more that will need to do so. The newest legislation is coming after Macau allowed casinos to introduce smoking lounges back in 2017.
As to the mounting number of applications for a license, only 12 casino rooms have been given the greenlight, which should signal business owners that it may be time to really go over their buildings’ plans one more time. The Health Bureau reminded that the number of applicants will not expedite the process as the institution still needs to process these in accordance with the law.
If the information submitted is accurate and meets the statutory requirements, the smoking rooms of the entertainment establishment can be licensed and used on or before 1 January 2019 upon consultation with the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) and the Fire Services Bureau, and through cross-departmental joint inspection.
Upon successful application, each room will be handed a permit that they can use to identify themselves if inspectors come. Any operator that fails to comply with the regulations will be sanctioned for the sum total of MOP$200,000 and have to temporarily shut down their activities until such a time that the requested licence is obtained.
More Bans Down the Pipeline
Meanwhile, Macau is mulling a new set of measures that will prevent employees at casinos to actually enter the premises in after work hours, which is a bizarre and highly restrictive ban.
If people feel that they are prevented from indulging in a hobby accessible to all, this may reverse the responsible gambling practices Macau has fought so hard to build over the last eight months.
With this in mind, the region is tasked with quite a bit when it comes to being the world’s model for responsible gambling. Of course, it’s in this controversy that Macau often finds the best solutions.