The Health Bureau (SSM) has issued a statement in which it acknowledges its awareness of some casino workers collecting signatures for a petition to enforce smoking control measures in the VIP rooms and high rollers’ common areas of the Wynn Palace casino in Cotai.
Several casino staff have complained that their health has been compromised by Wynn Palace permitting gamblers to smoke in those areas.
In response, the SSM clarified, “no authorization for the creation of smoking rooms or smoking areas has been issued for the casino [in question],” adding that smoke control inspectors are working with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau to enforce the existing law and tackle the occurrence of “illegal situations.”
The SSM also recalled that, according to last year’s review of the tobacco control law by the Legislative Assembly, smoking is strictly prohibited in common areas and VIP gaming rooms in casinos, except in smoking rooms previously authorized under the new requirements.
The bureau reaffirmed that “if smoking rooms are found not to meet the new requirements, or have not been authorized [for] its construction, they will be closed and the [people responsible] for them will be charged according to the law.”
The SSM also noted that in the first two months since the entry into force of the amendments to the Tobacco Control Act, 138 joint inspections were conducted in casinos and illegal smokers were charged 262 times, figures that represent a 50 percent increase in the number of inspections year-on-year and an 188 percent hike in the number of charges year-on-year.