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New smoking ban in Macau creates adverse environment for gaming operators

30 May 2015

In recent weeks the media has portrayed much attention to the Macau government’s enforced smoking ban on all land-based casinos. Many gaming operators had their views and comments as to the response of the enforced new law, which many say will have an adverse effect on the revenue figures. An announcement by Galaxy Entertainment Group’s deputy chairman, Francis Lui Yiu-tung followed as he advised the public and media this week that implemented smoking ban would have a definite big loss financially.

The comment came during a press conference prior to the grand opening ceremony of the gaming operator’s Phase 2 extension development at Galaxy Macau and Broadway Macau, which cost $130 million dollars to build. The government has granted the phase 2 galaxy extension, 150 new gaming tables tables out of the 400 the land-based casino initially requested. However the Galaxy Macau’s casino in Phase 1 has 450 gaming tables.

Galaxy Entertainment Group’s Phase 2 and Broadway are the first new gaming projects opened in the local market since 2012. During the official press conference at the launch of the phase 2 casino, Galaxy Entertainment executive, Lui Chee Wo announced that the company was raising its total investment in Macau for future developments despite the difficulties the local gaming industry is currently going through.

Francis Lui Yiu-tung also mentioned that as long as the industry players, workers, government officials and civic associations looked closer and further instead of only considering their own benefits, the whole industry could find a way out of its current predicament. Smoking is still prohibited on the main gaming floors of all casinos, however it is still leisurely allowed in the VIP rooms.

In a recent statement Francis Lui Yiu-tung commented saying: “If the infrastructure could be done quicker, our service is better, operational costs are lower, a win-win solution to the smoking ban is found, and then we would see the market resume faster. Our employee’s health comes first, but at the same time, as tourism is the core of Macau’s market, if tourists don’t agree with the full smoking ban we would be limiting them from coming to Macau, which will be a big loss for us. Besides health concerns, give us some breathing space so that the gaming enterprises have a chance to do better business. There’s been a decrease for the past 12 months. Even if we’re the strongest we can’t keep falling for such a long time.”

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