Under a revised law that came into effect on Tuesday, all smoking lounges in Macau casinos must conform to enhanced technical standards and be approved by the authorities, according to a story in GGRAsia, a website and newsletter about the Asian sector of the casino industry.

The city’s Health Bureau said that, as of yesterday, it had received 498 requests for installing the new higher-standard lounges, which are said to have better air extraction equipment than was required under the previous regulatory regime.

And it said that, as of Monday, it had given permission for the installation of 378 of the new-style smoking lounges.

Also as of Monday, 13 gaming venues had made no request for new-style smoking lounges.

Meanwhile, a December report on the casino sector outlook for Macau by brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein said the new smoking rules, which include a ban on tableside smoking in VIP gambling rooms, were ‘likely a headwind for the industry’. But the report’s authors added that any negative impact from the smoking ban would ‘likely be temporary’.

Macau’s Legislative Assembly passed on July 14, 2017, a revised bill on smoking that banned tableside tobacco use in VIP rooms, which, up till then were the only places in Macau casinos where smoking was still allowed at gaming tables.

Although the new rules came into force on January 1, 2018, tableside smoking at VIP rooms was in effect permitted until January 1, 2019, because casinos had been given a year’s grace in which to set up smoking lounges for VIP players.

On the first two days of the new law being in effect, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau and the city’s Health Bureau jointly announced that 14 charges had been filed in relation to people smoking outside authorized areas in the city’s casinos. Nine charges related to visitors and five charges were against locals.

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Office additionally received 23 complaints about smoking in casinos, via the city’s anti-smoking hotline.

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