Macau casino operators are facing more headwinds after the government expanded a smoking ban to all areas of their premises.
The move is a significant threat to the gaming sector, So Shu-fai, chief executive of SJM Holdings Ltd. (00880.HK), is quoted as saying by the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
Until now, the smoking ban had applied only to mass gaming sections after it was implemented in casinos in October
The extended ban came as lawmakers finalized a draft bill that includes tougher penalties for offenders.
Macau’s gaming industry has been hit by faltering revenue in recent months.
It tumbled 36.2 percent to 17.36 billion patacas (US$2.17 billion) in June, the 13th straight month of decline.
So urged the government to consider allowing smoking rooms such as those in airports.
Deutsche Bank estimates that VIP gaming revenue will slide 10 percent to 15 percent as a result of the wider ban, judging by a 12 percent fall in mass gaming takings.
A KPMG survey commissioned by the top six casino operators predicts the number of VIP visitors to fall 17 percent and their average stay to decline by 24 percent.
Translation by Vey Wong
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