The Deputy Director of the Health Bureau, Cheang Seng Ip said that all six local gaming operators have agreed with the proposed specifications for smoking lounges in casinos made by the bureau, as reported by local broadcaster TDM Radio.
The Health Bureau currently requires that smoking lounges in casinos generate a negative pressure of at least -5 pascal (Pa), which is similar to operating rooms in hospitals and medical centres, for the prevention of cross-contamination from room to room.
The Bureau is now discussing the details of operational procedures, said the Deputy Director.
The MSAR Government announced that it is planning to alter the drafted bill proposing a full smoking ban in casinos, to allow for the establishment of smoking lounges, following the results of a survey conducted by the University of Macau (UM), commissioned by the six local gaming operators, released last month.
The survey concluded that 60 per cent of the 14,301 gaming and non-gaming employees interviewed, agree with ‘solutions that allow smoking lounges’ in casinos.
Following the results disclosed by the gaming operators, the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff Association of the Federation of Trade Unions released their own survey results, revealing that around 68.7 per cent of 1,981 survey respondents had expressed their desire to work in smoking-free casinos.
The survey results also showed that 29.43 per cent of gaming workers supported the setting up of smoking lounges, while 60.98 per cent noted cases of casinos violating smoking regulations.
Another gaming workers group, the New Macau Gaming Professionals Association, also gathered a total of 503 signatures earlier this month, to condemn the Health Bureau for supporting the survey commissioned by the gaming operators.
The second-standing committee of the Legislative Assembly will discuss the amended bill for the smoking law at 3pm today.
The Chairman of the second-standing committee, Chan Chak Mo confirmed to local Chinese Newspaper Macao Daily that the government has handed in a revised document of the bill.
Regarding the details of the revised document, in particular, information about whether smoking lounges can be built and used inside casinos, Legislator Chan refused to disclose any information, but said the decision would be revealed after the meeting.
Earlier, the committee had voted on the setting up of smoking lounges in casinos, with seven out of nine voting in support.