Sands confident of achieving stricter smoking room standards

Wilfred Wong

Sands China president and chief operating officer Wilfred Wong said yesterday that he is confident that the gaming operator will be able to meet the stricter technical standards that the government may soon issue on smoking rooms on casino gaming floors.

“We actually researched and discussed a lot before submitting the proposals to the government and obviously we are confident that we could achieve those standards,” he said.

“Now the government is counter proposing a higher standard where all six of us [gaming operators] are now individually examining the feasibility and we will be congregating together to give a response to the government soon,” he continued.

Wong admitted that to attain the “higher and stricter” standards, the gaming operators need more resources. However, he clarified that the higher specification is feasible.

“For ourselves [Sands China], I think we are confident we can achieve it.”

The president also noted that the gaming operator needs plans to set up at least 30 extra smoking rooms.

Commenting on last week’s announcement by the Health Bureau about the government’s decision not to force casino operators to dismantle smoking lounges, Wong admitted they had been worried that if a smoking ban was implemented, it would weaken the region’s competitiveness.

“If you look at Las Vegas, Singapore, even in those areas, casinos have smoking areas, not smoking rooms. So I believe it is a great measure to retain Macau’s competitiveness,” Wong explained.

Growth trend to continue

The Sands China president is positive that the growth trend in the region’s Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) will continue. When asked whether he is expecting double digit growth for February’s GGR, Wong briefly replied, “It’s difficult to say at this stage, I mean we still have eight days to go.”

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