The Health Bureau (SSM) says in a statement it estimates that the city’s gaming revenue would be reduced by up to 4.6 percent if a blanket ban on smoking in all gaming venues was implemented, adding that it had taken a preliminary assessment conducted by the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) as a reference.
SSM Director Lei Chin Ion made the announcement in a reply to a written interpellation by lawmaker Si Ka Lon. He released the reply on Thrusday.
“According to the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau‘s preliminary assessment, 23 percent of all visitors [to Macau] are smokers. Among these smokers, about 30 to 50 percent smoke while they are gambling,” Lei said, adding that the city’s gaming revenue would be “impacted” by 2.76 to 4.6 percent if 20 percent of all smoking gamblers who had originally intended to gamble in Macau would choose not to come due to the ban.
Lei also said that according to a study conducted by his bureau, 13.6 percent of the total number of visitors who are smokers were likely to go to casinos less often if a total smoking ban in all gaming venues was implemented.
Currently, smoking is banned in mass-market gaming halls where, however, casinos are allowed to set up smoking lounges.
The Legislative Assembly’s (AL) 2nd Standing Committee is holding a two-month online consultation about a government-drafted anti-smoking amendment bill until the end of this month.
The bill proposes several main changes to the law, including an increase in the public areas where a blanket smoking ban would be in place, such as on all casino premises.
The outline of the amendment bill was passed in July. The 2nd Standing Committee will continue to discuss the bill in detail next month after the summer recess.