Atlantic City dealers’ union supports calls for casino smoking ban

The union has called for hearing on a bill to ban smoking.
The union has called for hearing on a bill to ban smoking.

The United Auto Workers has called on New Jersey lawmakers to prohibit smoking in casinos. 

US.- With New Jersey bill S264 and Assembly Bill 2151 apparently gaining support in the House, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has added its voice to calls for a smoking ban at Atlantic City casinos.

The dealers’ union released a letter to state legislators asking for hearings on a bill that would close a loophole in state law that leaves casinos as virtually the only indoor workplace where smoking is permitted. 

“Our members include dealers who sit inches away from patrons who blow smoke directly into their face for eight hours a day, every single day,” read the letter on behalf of workers at Caesars, Bally’s and Tropicana

“It is simply unacceptable knowing what we know about the dangers of secondhand smoke. No worker in the state of NJ should be forced to breathe cancer-causing chemicals every single day.”

On April 12, Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) met to voice their support for a ban on smoking in casinos. The rally marked the 16th anniversary of the ban on indoor smoking in New Jersey via the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006. Smoking at casinos was temporarily banned during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020 but were allowed to permit smoking again in July last year.

Casinos have largely remained opposed to a permanent ban. The Casino Association of New Jersey, the trade group for Atlantic City’s nine casinos, recently commissioned a report predicting widespread job losses and revenue declines if smoking were banned.

“Atlantic City has yet to see growth from pre-pandemic levels,” association president Joe Lupo said. “Employment at our casinos is at a 20-year low, with less than 50 per cent of the workforce from 2003.”.

Governor Phil Murphy has said that he would sign such a bill, ending the exemption for casinos in New Jersey’s public health law.

See also: Atlantic City casino revenue in 2021 surpassed pre-pandemic levels

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