Published on February 12, 2015 in Industry News

No Smoking Macau CasinosHaving a cigarette in hand or taking a smoke break while playing a game of Poker is as much a part of the gambling culture as wearing your lucky socks or carrying a rabbit’s foot.

Unfortunately however, it seems that the government of Macau, one of the most densely populated regions in the world, disagrees.

Macau, also described as Asia’s very own Las Vegas, has to deal with a rather devastating blow after the Macau government decreed that a large percentage of public areas in all casinos are to be smoke free.  

Effective as of the 1st of January 2015, the ban requires at least 50% of total public areas in all to be smoke free. The public areas include the VIP rooms, the lobby areas and restaurants.

And while casino operators are allowed to build smoking lounges, the installation of gaming tables or slot machines are strictly forbidden within these areas. 

Many analysts are making rather pessimistic predictions about how a ban such as this one can affect Macau’s 35 casinos.

There are those who believe that the love for Asia’s Las Vegas is stronger than the need to light up a cigarette. "Most mainland Chinese players will not stop visiting Macau just because they are not allowed to smoke at the tables," analysts wrote. "These are serious players that are prepared to pay for some of the most expensive hotel rooms for the privilege of gambling in the only legal gambling place in China."

While some casino owners are wondering how this ban will affect their profits in the long run, many are hoping that the future is still bright.

John Bruce, director of Operations for Macau at Hill & Associates believes that customers wanting to continue gambling at the many casinos Macau have to offer will simply adjust as they have in other countries where smoking bans have been implemented. 

"All major casinos are well-prepared… there are smoking lounges across the main floors. My experiences in countries like Australia tell me that people will adapt," Bruce said.