Atlantic City casino employees have been advocating for an indoor casino smoking ban for a long period. They hope that the new leader of the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) will support their campaign in the nine local casinos.
Many anti-casino smoking campaigners gathered in the city in April, near Ocean Casino Resort. They claimed that tobacco smoke contaminates the air in their workplaces, thus posing a health risk to them.
Mark Giannantonio, Resorts Casino Hotel's CEO, was appointed as CANJ's president this week. The association represents casinos workers' interests in New Jersey Trenton.
Giannantonio replaced Joe Lupo, Hard Rock Atlantic City's outgoing CEO, in the position. Lupo defended casinos stating that the state should allow them to have indoor smoking on up to 25 percent of their gaming floors.
Workers backing the Casino Employees Against Smoking's Effects (CEASE) urge Giannantonio to support their smoking ban campaign. The nonprofit is leading an anti-casino smoking regulatory campaign in Atlantic City.
Giannantonio received the CEASE letter this week stating that CANJ has continuously disregarded the health of casino workers for a long time even though facts aren't backing gaming operators' claim that the ban will adversely affect their ventures. Lamont White, Pete Naccarelli, and Nicole Vitola, CEASE's co-founders, signed the letter stating that they are concerned about the growth of Atlantic City casinos.
The three officials want workers to have a long life span and spend more time with their families. They fear that smoking will make the employees susceptible to respiratory and chronic illnesses like lung cancer.
Local Casinos' Claims Aren't Valid
The nine casinos in the city claim that a full smoking ban will greatly reduce their gaming revenue as casinos in Philadelphia allow smoking in particular zones. Major stakeholders in Atlantic City's gaming sector add that it will be tricky to attract players to New Jersey in other seasons after summer. Smoking is a vital component of their operations, and banning it will worsen the current economic state.
The CANJ conducted a study recently on the possible effects of the complete smoking ban on local casinos. The Spectrum Gaming Group discovered that the indoor smoking ban will reduce casinos' annual gross gaming revenue (GGR) by 11 percent in the first year after the new law is implemented. Also, it added that the move would cause 2,500 job losses.
The gaming union and casinos made these conclusions. They claimed that the CANJ's study offers reliable data on why Trenton shouldn't consider the smoking ban now.
The New Jersey Legislature has to amend the Smoke-Free Air Act first before the state compels all casinos to be smoke-free. The bill passed in 2006, and it has a provision that allows casino smoking.
The city's casino industry paid for the study, and CEASE claims that Spectrum made the unjustified conclusions to please its client. It wrote a letter stating that Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming conducted an independent study in June and found that the Coronavirus pandemic changed client behavior.
Besides, smoking casinos perform dismally compared to smoke-free casinos of late. It stated that it didn't commission the C3 Gaming review. But, Lupo is opposing CEASE's campaign.