Continuing her campaign to clean the air of Macau’s casinos, Angela Leong, fourth wife of gaming billionaire Stanley Ho, and managing director of Ho’s SJM gambling company, has proposed an all-inclusive smoking ban.
The recommendation, that would replace the current partial ban on smoking, was made during a meeting with Macau senior executive Francis Tam.
In addition to being an influential member of the gaming community as successor to Stanley Ho in the operation of the largest gaming firm in Macau, Leong is an influential member of the Macau legislature.
Meeting with Francis Tam during a “plenary discussion,” Leong objected to the government’s delay in the implementation of the partial smoking-ban in all casinos. In fact, she said she believed the total ban was preferable because casinos were finding it too difficult to implement the partial ban.
She added that if the move were sufficiently publicized it would have “limited” impact on the gaming business.
Some fellow legislators immediately supported the plan. One noted he believed such a ban would totally change the “polluted” image of traditional casinos and may attract more visitors to Macau’s gaming establishments.
He also suggested the timing for such a move was beneficial since although Macau’s gaming growth had slowed the casinos were still making money.
Tam did not indicate whether he would support the call. A number of casino operators expressed concern over a complete ban on smoking within their facilities, suggesting it would hurt, not help, their businesses.
Stanley Ho surprised the industry last year when he designated Leong, the 51-year-old mother of five of his 17 children, as the managing director of his company, SJM.
Ho has two other children in the gaming business. His daughter by his second wife, Pansy Ho, is a partner with MGM Resorts International in a Macau casino venture while Pansy’s brother, Lawrence, is a partner with Australian James Packer in Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.
Contact Ray at [email protected].