On Thursday this week, employees from casinos operated by casino operator and developer Wynn Resorts wrote a letter to the government, asking for a stricter implementation of the smoking ban. The employees handed the letter to the Office of the Chief Executive (CE) that is tasked with delivering the letter to the government. According to reliable sources, the group of employees represents a larger number of Wynn Resorts’ casino staff that wants stricter control on cigarette smoking inside the gambling venue.
The group explained that the smoking ban has been breached in the operator’s two casinos in Macau. According to the casino workers, multiple complaints have emerged about Wynn Macau Ltd. allowing smoking inside the casinos. Lawmakers Ella Lei and Leong Sun Iok also supported the casino workers’ claim, explaining that this is not the first time, in which Wynn casino employees complain about the breach of the smoking ban.
In an interview, Ella Lei commented that in October last year, around 100 Wynn employees visited the Macao Federation of Trade Union (FAOM) to raise the same issue. Choi Kam Fu, director general of the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff Association told the reporters that the casino operator allows some of its VIP customers to smoke inside the mass gambling venue in an attempt to retain their players with deep pockets. Choi added that the casino workers, who complained about Wynn’s practice to allow customers to smoke in the mass area were punished by their employer.
Choi elaborated that the casino operators are responsible for implementing the smoking ban and they should report all the cases, in which a casino customer is smoking inside the casino area to the tobacco control authority. After that, the tobacco control authority is to check the casino’s CCTV surveillance and eventually prosecute the wrongdoer. Some of Wynn’s casino workers said that there are no designated smoking and non-smoking areas inside the casino. They hope that the company is to mark the non-smoking areas as such in the near future.
Macau Gambling Industry Shrinks Dramatically
Macau has turned into China’s gambling mecca, especially for high-rollers, who do not hesitate to risk thousands of dollars per spin. It is not a secret that the gambling industry in Macau is highly dependent on the high-rollers. Over the past few years, the gambling industry in Macau has started to cool down. The Chinese gambling enclave has seen its revenue plummet. In addition to that, many VIP customers directed their attention to other gambling destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.
Industry experts explained that there are two main factors, that hit the profitability of the gambling industry in Macau. The first one is related to the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-money laundering campaign, which scared off a lot of gamblers. The other reason for Macau’s gaming revenue free-fall is the is attributed to the indoor smoking ban. In October 2014, the Macau government voted in favor of a bill for the introduction of a full smoking ban at local casinos. VIP rooms and enclosed smoking lounges were exempt from the rule. Nevertheless, the smoking ban was the other factor that affected the revenue.