Smoking lounge planning, time and money wasted if total ban is enforced

Macau’s casino operators will have wasted a great deal of time and money if they are forced to abandon smoking lounges in the event of a blanket smoking ban, according to local media.

The lounges were located to make them convenient, so that the customers could see them from all areas in the casino, said  Mel Hansen, MGM China’s Senior Vice President of Design, Development and Construction.

“Where the smokers are in the casinos, we certainly saw the revenue move to around the smoking rooms.”

Sands China’s vice president of facilities management, Michael Naylor, said a long-term planning approach was taken when building the lounges.

“We just didn’t throw walls up because we figured this was going to last a year. We had two to three indoor air quality and mechanical consultants that we hired to help us develop a plan, and it was a thoughtful process on how big each space should be, based on our customer base,” he said.

Melco Crown Entertainment’s vice president of property services, Joshua Ho, agreed that building the lounges was a lengthy task.

“Last year the government announced [new policies] around May, and we had to implement the entire system by October. It was a real challenge, first of all to find a location where we could build the proper ventilation system [for the smoking lounges],” he was quoted as saying.

Macau’s junket operators have been pleading with the Macau government to allow them to operate smoking lounges in their VIP gaming rooms, saying the ban will further hurt their business which has taken a knock since China’s anti-graft campaign.