Macau’s Legislative Assembly has passed a bill making it mandatory for casinos to upgrade or set up smoking lounges on their casino floors, Macau TDM reports.
Under the new law, gambling operators will be required to equip their casinos with smoking lounges before 2019, one year after the new regulations come into effect.
Several lawmakers accused the government of making “U-turn” from the full smoking ban.
“I believe this U-turn is out of a political decision,” said Au Kam San, a pro-democrat.
“Is it a decision demanded by the six major gambling companies?”
Other lawmakers however, defended the decision.
“It wasn’t a U-turn but a measure that better sorts the space of casinos and enhances the protection of non-smokers,” said Zheng Anting, a member of the Macau-Guangdong Union.
“With a smoking room for staff, those workers who don’t smoke won’t have to stay with those who smoke during recess, either at the canteen or the staff room,” said Anting.
“Gambling workers have the right to smoke and they enjoy it,” said Angela Leong.