Bally's Corporation has finally opted to ban smoking during table games in the two Rhode Island casinos that it operates. This comes days after its casino workers supported the legislation to cease the clean indoor air ambiguity that casinos have.
Teresa Tanzi, Rhode Island's representative, introduced another bill that needs the state's two legal casinos to be fully smoke-free. So far, House Bill 7855 has attracted seven cosponsors.
This effort has won the support of the Laborers International Union of North America Local 271, which represents most of Bally's properties' workers. The gaming operator has started displaying no-smoking signs at each table.
They require bettors who often play blackjack and various games to go to specific smoking areas that Bally's has designated. Even so, none of the two casinos have posted the new rule on any of their social media profiles or websites.
Clients who want to smoke have to pause playing, leave gaming tables, and use smoking receptacles that the casinos have set up on their table games zone's outer perimeters. Patti Doyle, Bally's Corporation's spokesperson, informed The Providence Journal that they have removed ashtrays from their tables and posted signage showing the new change.
Bally's rebranded the two Rhode Island casinos after buying Twin River Worldwide Holdings, their parent operator in 2020 from Caesars Entertainment.
What About Mirrors and Smoke?
Casino dealers who have been advocating for a smoking ban at table games won after Bally's banned the habit in its Rhode Island gaming properties. They claimed that they were forced to work in hazardous environments that risked their health. Even so, the gaming operator's decision might have more behind it.
Bally's is currently prohibiting players from smoking at its tables, and it has restricted indoor casino smoking to specific areas. This is different from HB 7855's goal. The smoking gaming bill requires Bally's Corporation's Tiverton and Lincoln to compel smokers to move to isolated zones not to cause discomfort to other players and casino workers.
Even so, casino smoking and pari-mutuel establishments' indoor smoking exemptions might be repealed. HB 7855 will remove the smoke-free exemptions from Rhode Island's Public Health and Workplace Safety Act if it passes. Also, the regulation will start being implemented once the governor signs it.
Casinos Sensitize Players to Be Cautious
Bally's Corporation is running a $100 million expansion project at the Lincoln resort that will increase its gaming space by 40,000 square feet. It features a Korean day spa, different cosmetic improvements, and an entertainment space. The gaming operator revealed that it will upgrade its casino floor's air circulation system.
Craig Sculos, Lincoln Resort's General Manager, talked to the Rhode Island Finance Committee in April about HB 7855 and its adverse effect on the two casinos' operations. He stated that a smoke-free casino will earn less gaming revenue compared to one that allows players to smoke freely.
This will have a trickle-down effect on casinos, thus reducing the state's total gaming revenue and money that it earns from its hospitality industry. The casino executive urged the states' lawmakers to look for a solution that would address the dealers' concerns and keep casinos' clientele.