Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Casinos exempted from smoking ban in public spaces

SINGAPORE: Smoking is banned in most enclosed places in Singapore, but it is a different story for the two casinos at Resorts World Singapore (RWS) and the soon to be opened Marina Bay Sands.

A casino patron recently wrote to MediaCorp's English daily TODAY, saying she was surprised to see a designated smoking area at the RWS casino.

She asked if there are any "double standards".

The decision to exclude casinos from the smoking ban came in 2008 after a year-long discussion between the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the two Integrated Resorts (IRs).

NEA said "it is a common practice for casinos in many countries to put in place house rules to designate smoking and non-smoking areas".

However, NEA also added that smoking is allowed within casino premises only if smokers "comply with the house rules set out by premise owners".

Following feedback from patrons, RWS said it is looking at better ways to keep out the smoke drift.

In the United States, imposing a non-smoking ban in casinos has generated public debate due to the high spending of patrons, many of whom are smokers.

When Alantic City imposed a ban on smoking in all its 11 casinos, several gaming halls reportedly saw a fall in their revenues.

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