Well, since we're here, does anybody know the smoking situation in Macau nowadays?
Oddly enough there IS news about the smoking situation in Macau. I was going to (eventually) start a thread with a long post about the current uncertainties Macau is facing but who would read it? Instead, I'll just cherry pick out the part on smoking.
January was the first month since 2016 that Macau saw it's gambling revenue decrease. It was up slightly in February but not enough to erase January's losses. (The two months are combined due to the floating nature of the Lunar New Year festival.) March was also down making a losing 1st quarter and analysts are predicting losses this month as well. What's going on?
The big culprit seems to be that VIP gamblers aren't showing up in the numbers they used to. There are many reasons for this including the softening Chinese economy and uncertainty over Sino-American trade relations which puts their cash flow in doubt. Plus, they tend to avoid Macau during the festival as the city is flooded with tourists. Junket operators and a few analysts, however, point to another issue ... smoking.
As of Jan 1st, 2019 the casino smoking ban went into full effect with VIP table game rooms being the last holdouts to fall. From now on all smoking (including VIP smoking) must be done in sealed off smoking lounges where no gambling is allowed. Reports of rampant VIP cheating have already forced the government ramp up its inspection and citation policy. Casinos find themselves between a rock and a hard place since its hard to tell a guy who's betting (and usually losing) a fortune that he can't puff away while doing it. Only 17% of the people of Macau smoke, however, so it's usually casino employees doing the complaining to the government regulators; an interesting workplace dynamic.
I never thought I'd see Macau casinos have a stricter smoking policy than their Vegas counterparts much less a complete ban.
Here is a smoking lounge at the Wynn Palace in Macau...
Edit: I should note that Macau gaming stocks rallied on news of the various 1st quarter losses since they weren't as bad as the market feared.
Quote: Macau Daily Times
During yesterday’s conference, Zeng Zhonglu, a professor from the Center for Gaming and Tourism Studies at the Macao Polytechnic Institute, said that the smoking ban inside Macau casinos had dampened the growth of the gaming industry.
“While there is no smoking ban in Las Vegas, in Macau, smoking [inside casinos] is banned,” said Zeng.
“If you are a gambler and you want to smoke, [the casinos] ask you to smoke outside, and you will lose your interest in gambling,” said Zeng. “I don’t [want to] mention that smoking is already banned in the mass market, but also banning smoking in VIP rooms? Banning smoking in VIP rooms is one of the direct causes behind Macau’s gaming industry growth slowing down.”
The professor highlighted how many studies show that people who like gambling also like smoking and drinking alcohol.
Macau is having a bad 2019 with analysts predicting the misery to continue for the next few years. There are many reasons (economical, political, increased competition etc) for this but the fact that a member of the Center for Gaming and Tourism Studies is stating this publicly suggests the smoking ban is having an obvious negative impact on revenues. Will the ban be reversed? Probably not. If the bad times continue to roll, however, don't be surprised if VIP smoking lounges are suddenly allowed to have a few baccarat tables operating inside them.
AC has 75-25 and it works great, plenty of smoking and non smoking areas with reasonable separation. I think splits are a good policy.
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