Atlantic City casinos against smoking ban

Atlantic City casinos against smoking ban

Atlantic City casinos are excluded from New Jersey’s ban on indoor smoking but groups are pushing for no-smoking casinos in the state.

US.- Atlantic City casinos have voiced opposition to a ban on indoor smoking after anti-smoking advocates announced plans to sponsor legislation to ensure smoke-free air inside gambling venues.

The state of New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act, approved in 2006, bans smoking in all indoor venues except for Atlantic City casinos, which are exempt.

However, since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, New Jersey authorities have ordered all casinos to temporarily suspend indoor smoking as part of health and safety measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19.

According to anti-smoking advocates, this has shown that casinos can operate without smoking with no impact on their businesses. New Jersey assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) plans to push for new legislation that bans smoking in all casinos.

She said: “We’ve seen it’s possible for casinos to operate with smoking bans, because they had no choice”.

Read more: Atlantic City casinos profits plunge 80% in 2020

While previous attempts to include casinos into the Smoke-Free Air Act have been unsuccessful, Huttle believes public opinion is now on her side.

She said: “This time is definitely different. For over a year, we’ve been battling with a respiratory virus, one that disproportionately impacts smokers.”

However, the Casino Association of New Jersey, the lobbying group that represents the nine Atlantic City casinos, said: “Banning smoking permanently would have long-term financial implications for the industry and the region.

“Going completely nonsmoking would place Atlantic City casinos at a competitive disadvantage with other nearby casinos that allow smoking.”

See more: Nevada group pushes for smoke-free casinos

According to the group, casinos have guaranteed the air quality inside venues by investing in state-of-the-art air filtration systems that circulate fresh air.

The association added: “With the onset of the pandemic, independent experts reviewed our air filtration systems, confirming their effectiveness in exchanging large volumes of air and keeping the air quality fresh and clean”.

What happened when other casinos banned smoking?

There are currently 24 states that ban smoking indoors at casinos. They are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

According to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Pennsylvania’s gaming industry experienced its all-time highest revenue in March with a no-smoking regulation in place.

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