CASINO

Macau going mobile; Leong wants full ban; Tam calls for non-gaming

TAGs: Macau, melco crown, smoking ban

MacauMacau’s new slot rules allow casino operators to let patrons gamble using mobile devices inside the walls of brick and mortar casinos. The new rules, set to be enacted tomorrow by the regulator, open the floodgates for mobile gambling by wireless networks “inside gambling areas especially authorised” by the enclave’s regulator. New bylaws also stipulate where slot parlors are located with five-star hotels, non-residential buildings located within a 500-metre range of a casino or resorts “not integrated in a densely populated area” among the only places permitted to accommodate them. The law is likely to affect Melco Crown most out of the casino operators as four or five of their Mocha Club slot lounges may have to relocate.

An executive at SJM Holdings is calling for the government to implement a full smoking ban in Macau’s casinos. Angela Leong On Kei, executive director at the casino firm, is “totally in favor of a full smoking ban inside casinos” and, in her role as a legislative assembly member, questioned Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen as to why a full ban wont be introduced on January 1. Leong also argued the partial ban will be very hard to enforce and was critical of the decision to bring the rules out so late in the day, commenting: “It is very hard, in such a short period, for casino operators to be able to finish all the works to create smoking areas,” she said.

Tam, the enclave’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, thinks that Macau needs more non-gaming attractions. Also talking at the legislative assembly, Tam stated that non gaming elements are essential or the future of the economy, and added: “Casino operators have to include other amenities in their properties, such as more entertainment and theatre shows, to attract more visitors that do not want only to gamble.”

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