Macau is going to shake up the casinos on October 6th, 2014 with the latest in smoking enforcements. For the veterans it will be strange and a little uncomfortable seeing these changes where the classic days of the movie star coolly smoking at the games tableis now becoming a long lost relic, a forgotten image.Now a new paradigm is being formed outside of the casinos.
There was a partial push to remove smoking in January 2013, where 50% of the space of the casinos in Macau were to be designated as non-smoking. This did mean a lot of activity then took place where the profitable tables got moved to the smoking side of the casino, the VIP tables and rooms for the High Rollers continued to be smoking.
Macau became the biggest gambling centre in the world in 2006 and so the fear of course is that stopping smoking at the tables has an effect on the revenue that has been seen elsewhere. In the U.S. and Australia the negative effect on revenue ranged from 4% to 20%. This of course amounts to a very large cost to the gambling industry that in 2013 surpassed $45 billion, several times more than Las Vegas gambling, but if the same proportion of revenue loss happens here then this could mean between 2 to 9 billion dollars lost in GDP for Macau.
There are some reports that the casinos will be allocating smoking rooms for the VIP players though, which appears to go against the idea of banning it totally.
China itself holds a third of the total worldwide smokers and so this is going to have a wide impact, in fact 25% of the region of Macau smokes.
Macau as the most densely populated region worldwide, has a large portion, at 10.3%, of its total workforce involved in the gambling industry. The Macau Health Bureau commissioned a survey to be conducted by the University of Macau into the situation and found that now there are 55% of the 1,031 strong casino workforce who do not want to work in rooms where smoking is allowed. A noticeable 12.7% of them (131 workers) said they would do it for more money however. There was a huge proportion of 9 out of 10 of the workforce agreeing to have smoking rooms that had no gambling equipment in them, so the gambler would have to leave the tables and go to the ‘smoking room’. There was no faith in it improving the air quality inside the casino however, with only 36% believing it was possible, but 45% admitting that it really will not make much difference.
What of the old image of the classic film star, the cigar has now gone, or they must now occasionally rush to the ‘smoking room’ for a quick break. Only to be return back to the table a few moments later stinking of ash and being followed by stale clouds of cigar fumes. It appears the magic of smoking has gone and a healthier atmosphere in the casino will become normality very soon. The only place now where smoking may be allowed while gambling is at home, and by engaging in online casino gambling you can recreate the atmosphere of those classic days. Maybe more people will go outside of the casino now to enjoy their gambling, diverting away the money from the classic and into the new paradigm, the external online casinos that operate with no smoking restrictions.