MGM Macau in hot water for alleged smoking ban breach

Casino hotel MGM Macau is now under fire for allegedly violating the Special Administrative Region’s ban on smoking in public places.

MGM Macau in hot water for alleged smoking ban breachIn a press statement, Macau’s Health Bureau announced that the agency has rounded up a total of 9 individuals caught smoking in unauthorized areas inside the casino. The violators were slapped with fines by health authorities.

But what concerns the Health Bureau even more was the fact that MGM Macau, which is operated by MGM China Holdings, Ltd., failed to comply with the city’s rules on smoking in public places. The health team noticed that the hotel didn’t have ‘no smoking’ signs in some areas inside its casino

“During the inspection it was noticed that some areas within the casino did not have the ‘no smoking’ signs required under the existing regulations,” said the Health Bureau. The bureau stated it has issued an official notification and that it would be following up the case.

The inspection inside MGM Macau stemmed from a complaint made by a local labor group, which blew the whistle on the supposed existence of “multi-function rooms” where customers were allegedly being allowed to smoke.

Under the law, business establishments that have failed to comply in posting “no smoking signs” in their properties will be slapped with fines ranging from MOP10,000 (US$1,252) to MOP100,000 (US$12520.74).

The Health Bureau statement did not mention if the bureau would be suggesting any penalties to MGM Macau.

The Macau government has banned smoking on casino mass floors in October 2014. It, however, gave exemptions for tobacco use in enclosed smoking lounges situated on some casino mass-market floors. Having a cigarette while gambling is at present still allowed in VIP rooms.

In June 2015, the special administrative region’s government posted a notice to its official website affirming its commitment to ending all smoking in Macau casinos. The plan mirrors Beijing’s efforts to reduce smoking in public places on the mainland to reduce health costs associated with the country’s 300m smokers.

According to the Health Bureau, it has approved a total of 86 smoking lounges on main or ‘mass’ gaming floors in Macau casinos. On the other hand, the Health Bureau says it has been reviewing requests for additional 21 smoking lounges.

Meanwhile, statistics showed that a total of 277 people has been fined in Macau in the first six months of 2016 for smoking in non-designated areas inside the city’s casinos.