Macau junkets threaten to quit over smoking ban

The Macau Junket Operators Association threatened that its members would quit Macau if the industry’s falling revenues from the VIP sector are made worse by a full smoking ban currently being debated.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on tobacco control, AMJEM President Kwok Chi Chung said he was opposed to the ban and believes it will only further hurt the industry, Macau News reported.

Kwok said he also believed that VIP gaming rooms would lose clients if a full casino smoking ban was implemented because most gamblers were smokers.

Kwok said that the revenue of the VIP gaming segment went down to 50 percent of the gaming industry’s total revenue last year, while previously it had generated 70 percent of the total gaming receipts.

Macau’s smoking bill passed its first reading by an almost unanimous vote of 26-2 in Macau’s Legislative Assembly. It will return to the Assembly for the second and third reading after a working committee examines the situation and issues a report.