Pennsylvania's gaming operators allow players to smoke cigarettes on some parts of their floors. But, some people in Harrisburg are making efforts to remove the practice from the Clean Indoor Air Act which the state passed in 2008.
The regulation prevents indoor smoking in work and public places. Even so, it exempts private lounges, cigar lounges, and watering holes that earn a lot of money from selling alcohol and casinos.
The Clean Indoor Air Act permits each legal gaming property to allocate up to half of its gaming floor to smoking. Recent reports state that the number of smokers in the commonwealth has reduced of late. 14 percent of adults in the state smoke tobacco thus making some of its lawmakers determined to seal smoking loopholes.
State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County) wants to reintroduce a bill that will ban indoor casino smoking. He made another attempt with House Bill 2466 last year but the House Health Committee didn't approve it.
Frankel is in charge of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh's location. It permits smoking in specific areas and it recently disclosed improving its HVAC system by adding an "indoor air quality purification system" that filters contaminated particles.
The Main Pressing Issue Now
Frankel sent a memorandum to the legislature stating that cigarette smoking rates have dropped since Governor Ed Rendell (D) signed the Clean Indoor Air Act into law. He added that they have focused on secondhand smoke's health risks in various unprotected workplaces.
Drinking venues, private clubs, and casinos exploit the smoking Act's loopholes thus risking their workers' health. The State representative added that Pennsylvanians shouldn't risk their health over jobs.
Instead, he mentioned a study which discovered that smoke-free properties often attract more players. Still, he pointed to the state's casino revenues that were commendable during the COVID-19 pandemic's temporary indoor smoking ban.
Frankel adds that the proposed amendment will eliminate loopholes in the Clean Indoor Air Act. Also, it will increase the definition of vapes and electronic cigarettes to prevent their usage on casino floors.
The State's Most Profitable Casino Is Smoke-Free
Nevada has been the country's leading state in gaming revenue of late. Pennsylvania outperformed New Jersey in 2022 to be the second-largest gaming state.
Parx casino, located in Bensalem and north of Pennsylvania raked in $637.5 million as gross gaming revenue (GGR) from land-based gaming. It beat 15 other land-based casinos in the state.
The gaming operator permanently restricted indoor smoking on its gaming floor during the pandemic. Eric Hausler, Greenwood Racing Inc. President, stated that the casino considered its employees' interest and "wear and tear" before making that decision.
Retail slots in Pennsylvania increased their revenue by 4.5 percent in 2022 while Parx terminals' revenue dropped by 3.8 percent. Its table's wins dropped by 1.4 percent year-over-year and the state's table revenue increased by 7 percent.
Some local casinos have attempted to be smoke-free. For instance, Mount Airy Casino and Rivers Casino Philadelphia lifted the indoor smoking ban after saying that they would be smoke-free.