Indoor Smoking at Atlantic City Casinos

Indoor Smoking Still Allowed at Atlantic City Casinos

Casino workers in the state of New Jersey, and particularly in Atlantic City, have been trying to get smoking inside casinos banned. They say they are exposed to second-hand smoke every day and it harms their health. Moreover, they complain that the NJ clean air law bans indoor smoking at all workplaces, except casinos.

On the other hand, casinos would very much like to keep the status quo and allow smoking customers on their gaming floors. They say that if these players were to be banned from entering casinos, many workers would lose their jobs which would in turn cause revenue to plummet. All of that would happen at a time when casinos are struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels of players and revenue.

A Smoking Ban Would Hurt Atlantic City

And it seems like casinos might get their wish after all. A bill that bans indoor smoking at Atlantic City casinos is still stuck in NJ’s state legislature, even though it is supported by both Democrats and Republicans. 

Last year, Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy promised he would sign such a bill if it passed. However, state representatives allowed an almost identical bill to die because there was no vote scheduled for it. The same is true now.

Head of the Atlantic City casinos’ trade association and Resorts Casino President Mark Giannantonio said that their position was transparent and they were sure that if a smoking ban was implemented, it would have “a significant adverse effect on Atlantic City.”

As the head of the Casino Association of New Jersey, he asked for more time and a better solution that would address casino workers’ concerns but would not cost people their jobs too.

Atlantic City Casinos Cannot Win this Fight

However, Cynthia Hallet, President of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, disagrees. She said found it remarkable that the nine Atlantic City casinos couldn’t find at least one person to defend their position publicly.

She expressed her confidence that casinos had no way of winning this fight, saying they couldn’t “win on the facts.” Hallet added that even the economic arguments the casinos have been putting forward (people losing their jobs if a smoking ban was implemented) were already rebutted.

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