Macau (MNA) – The Health Bureau (SS) said on Thursday that they still have to authorise 127 smoking lounge requests, following newly enforced stricter smoke retention requirements.
With new smoking regulations having been enforced for gaming areas on January 1 of this year, health authorities indicated that as of January 8 they have received requests for 505 smoking lounges from 34 of the current 47 casinos in Macau, having authorised 378 of the rooms.
The SS had previously given until the end of September if casinos wanted to make sure the smoking rooms would be approved in time for the smoking ban enforcement, with any non-authorised smoking rooms in gaming areas having to be closed after January 1.
‘The other [smoking rooms] were not yet authorized for several reasons: the applicants did not make available in the time legally required the documents; were not able to complete the fire test; or have not made the improvements, according to the opinions expressed by the Fire Department. There were also applicants who, on their own initiative, canceled requests for the creation of smoking rooms, among others,’ – the department.
The department indicated that a request that complies with all documentary formalities without fail, and meets all legal requirements, can obtain the authorization in about 90 days. Otherwise, authorization can be delayed and become more time-consuming.
Previous information indicated that the casinos that had yet to apply were, namely, Presidential Casino, Mandarin Oriental, Grandview Casino, Macau Jockey Club Casino, Regency Art Hotel, Royal Dragon Casino, and seven Mocha Club locations.
Regarding enforcement of the ban, the SS indicated that casinos have the responsibility not just of placing signs warning of smoking restrictions, but also have the responsibility of alerting illegal smokers to the fact that they are smoking in forbidden areas, and of calling police authorities to assist in the treatment of offenders and not neglecting any act of violation of the law.
Last week a scuffle between Chinese patrons and a police officer caused by the smoking ban enforcement at Galaxy Macau, led to the officer firing a warning shot.