A full smoking ban inside Macau’s casinos could divert VIP clients to other gambling destination, according to a new study.
According to the research, VIP clients would reduce the frequency of their visits to Macau by 17% and their length of stay by 24%. The number of VIPs who would choose to visit an alternative gaming destination where smoking is permitted would increase by 32%. The study also concluded that Macau GDP could drop to 16% and reduced taxes could eventually impact the city’s public services, such as health and education.
Small and medium businesses will also be affected as 99.7% of Macau’s businesses consist of food and beverage and transportation.
Casino operators including Melco Crown Entertainment, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment Group, MGM China, Sands China and SJM Holdings have urged legislators “to take objective views and carefully consider all of the implications that an enactment of a full smoking ban could have for Macau’s economy.”
The group also believes that maintaining well-constructed ventilation systems in the smoking lounges the operators installed only one year ago would be preferable to a full smoking ban.
“The group believes that retaining smoking lounges to protect the health of employees and guests while also offering the amenities requested by many of their customers would avoid the negative effects on the economy that a total smoking ban could trigger,” said the group in a press release.
The KPMG study claims that 66% of Macau employees and 71% of customers supported retaining smoking lounges in the casinos.
The full smoking ban legislation received its first reading in July and now advances to the committee stage in the Legislative Assembly.