A bill on smoking in Macau’s casinos is currently being revised by a standing committee of Macau’s Legislative Assembly. The draft regarding the permission of smoking inside the city’s casinos is expected to be submitted next week.
Officials hope the bill will come into effect at the beginning of January 2018, after it receives a second reading during a plenary meeting of the legislature fo Macau before it goes out for its summer recess. At the moment, players at the casino tables are allowed to smoke only in the specially designated areas of the casino labeled as VIP zones, while smokers located anywhere else in the casino can smoke in the smoking lounges only.
The revised draft of the bill aims to set up smoking lounges in the VIP areas as well. If it passes the Legislative Assembly casino operators will also have to make these lounges so that they adhere to certain technical standards, which are to be discussed in a special executive order. Chan Chack Mo, president of the Second Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly said that the draft is currently being reviewed and there are no issues regarding it. There are some additional details which they are doing their best to include in the final version.
One of the biggest advocates for a full ban on smoking inside casinos, and one of the legislators, Ng Kuok Cheong strongly supports the idea of installing smoking lounges in the VIP areas of Macau’s casinos. He also insists on clearly listing the reason behind this ban – the World Health Organization’s opinion regarding the numerous health-related risks of tobacco smoke inhalation.
A Legislative Assembly committee has been given the task to look through the piece of legislation and issue its opinion document on it for consideration by their fellow legislators. In the case of any last-minute adjustments before the second reading of the bill, this opinion document can and will be taken into account. The President and the Secretariat of the legislature have set the agenda for the Assembly and the date it should be held on. This year the second standing committee meeting should take place next week.
The current legislative term finishes in August, which means an election should take place in September. It will decide who is going to sit in the chamber of the Legislative Assembly for the next four years. If the proposed smoking ban legislation does not pass the assembly before the deadline this summer, it would fall. This means the whole process on the smoking proposals would have to start anew.