Wong confident of meeting stricter standards

Sands China president and chief operating officer Wilfred Wong is confident the company will be able to meet the stricter technical standards on smoking lounges, Macau Daily Times reports.

“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,” said Wong.

“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.”

While Wong admitted gaming operators would need to invest more to meet the new standards, he said it was feasible.

“For ourselves, I think we are confident we can achieve it,” he said.

Earlier this week, a Macau-based gaming workers union accused the government of bowing to pressure from casino operators by allowing smoking lounges to stay.

Chloe Chao, president of New Macau Gaming Professionals Association in a petition delivered on Wednesday, is aiming to have second hand smoking listed as a workplace hazard, and has also urged the government to pursue a full smoking ban.

Commenting on the government’s decision to maintain smoking lounges last week, Wong admitted they had been worried that should a full smoking ban be issued, 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,” he said.