The battle to ban smoking in casinos is intensifying again.
Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, a California-based advocacy group that seeks to ban smoking in casinos nationwide, has jumped on the record and near-record performance of casinos across the country since the full reopening began ago. a few months to lobby for smoke-free casinos.
When Atlantic City casinos posted record sales in June, Americans for Nonsmokers Rights chief executive officer Cynthia Hallett concluded that revenue and smoke-free operations are linked.
“Another record-breaking month of earnings in Atlantic City – with casinos operating smoke-free – offers the latest proof that non-smokers are good for business,” she said. “The industry’s arguments for indoor smoking, even in 2021, have lost their credibility. It’s time for Governor (Phil) Murphy and Senate Speaker (Stephen) Sweeney to act to finally close the casino loophole so workers and guests don’t have to breathe in harmful second-hand smoke. No one should have to choose between a job and a salary.
The loophole Hallett was referring to was an exception to the New Jersey indoor smoking ban that allows smoking in casinos.
As the pandemic raged, New Jersey officials ordered a temporary ban on smoking in casinos. That expired on July 4, but Murphy has pledged to support a permanent casino smoking ban going forward.
Americans for Nonsmokers Rights has shown that the amount of income generated does not depend on the ability to smoke.
According to the anti-smoking group, 22 US states and territories ban smoking in casinos. In the Silver State, thanks to the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking is prohibited in any stadium or public place that is not a casino, bar, or some other exception.
In most cases, a smoking ban results in an initial drop in income, followed by an increase from previous levels.
But ask a smoker to put out his cigarette, pipe, or cigar in a casino, and you’re bound to have a fight. Some casinos have banned smoking at table games, but most properties in Las Vegas allow it.
Like New Jersey, Nevada casinos have recorded a high number of gambling wins since their full reopening. Most analysts have attributed this to the pent-up demand for entertainment and the fact that smoking has nothing to do with it.
A Las Vegas casino that chose to go smoke-free when it reopened to the public at the end of September last year, Park MGM, continues to ban smoking in its casino.
A spokesperson for MGM Resorts International said it does not report on trends in casino revenue by property, so whether Park MGM is earning more now than before the COVID-19 closures is unknown.
Americans for Nonsmokers Rights also take advantage of a big story in the local news: the potential relocation of Oakland A’s to Las Vegas. Due to this team’s ban on smoking in stadiums, the group has indicated to A management and Major League Baseball that they want their support in banning smoking in Nevada casinos.
The Berkeley-based organization has taken to the Oakland Road in search of support if and when the As’s decide to plant roots in southern Nevada.
“MLB has long been a pioneer in major league sports to reduce tobacco use among players as a way to protect their health and set an example for fans of all ages,” Hallett wrote to the Commissioner of the League. Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred.
“Right now, only two franchises, the Cardinals and the Royals, are located in cities that allow smoking inside casinos. As you continue to view Las Vegas or other cities as new home cities for athletics or other MLB teams, we hope you will help create safe environments in the communities that host franchises of the MLB.
It remains to be seen whether the A’s will move to Las Vegas, or whether they will influence smoke-free policies if they do.