Casinos are exempt from Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008, but Rivers Casino has adopted a ban.
US.- While casino workers continue to call for a ban on indoor smoking in Atlantic City in New Jersey, over in Pennsylvania, Rivers Casino Philadelphia has decided voluntarily adopt a smoke-free policy.
Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 provided an exemption for commercial casinos, allowing them to designate up to 50 per cent of their gaming space for smoking. However, Rivers Casino has now decided to join Parx Casino, also in Philadelphia, and Mount Airy Casino in northeast Pennsylvania as a smoke-free venue.
Rivers and Parx both temporarily suspended indoor casino smoking amid the pandemic along with all other casinos in the state on governor Tom Wolf’s order. But other casinos across Pennsylvania have since resumed indoor smoking after the governor’s order was lifted.
An April 28 letter from Michael Grisar, vice president of operations for Rivers Philadelphia, to casino employees said, “Smoking will not be permitted indoors in any locations of the property.”
The letter said the outdoor patio for Jack’s Bar would be converted to a guest-only smoking area, open during the bar’s regular operating hours and subject to weather conditions. There are other outdoor smoking areas near the casino’s north and south entrance doors. Smokers using the bar patio do not have to go through security when returning to the casino floor.
Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, said the Rivers Philadelphia smoking ban increases the pressure on New Jersey to follow suit.
“It’s becoming harder and harder for Atlantic City casinos to defend indoor smoking that threatens the health of their employees,” she said.
“Rivers Casino Philly joins Parx Casino and casinos in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Connecticut in not permitting indoor smoking. It’s past time for Atlantic City casinos to end this outdated business practice and instead benefits from the guests who would visit their properties were it not for the smoke.”