Many casinos across the United States have decided to go smoke-free when it comes to their gaming facilities as operations continue amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Many health experts feel that allowing smoking during the pandemic will lead to more transmission among guests. If a venue is allowing smoking, they are creating dedicated areas where patrons can go to light up. For MGM Resorts International, they decided to allow their Park MGM property to reopen later on this month without smoking. The casino is one of the last to reopen in the region.
The Park MGM will reopen on September 30 and will not allow smoking inside the facility. President and chief operating officer of the property, Anton Nikodemus, stated that the facility is going smoke-free because of the requests made by guests. According to the CEO, there is a pent-up demand for non-smoking casino gaming in Las Vegas.
The move made by the largest casino operator in the region is a big one. Smoking has long been a debate in Las Vegas, with secondhand smoke causing lawsuits and debate for many years.
History professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Michael Green, stated that the tradition connected to Las Vegas is that players do things that are bad for them when they visit, like smoking. However, the COVID-19 crisis led to a different way of thinking. While people are being asked to wear masks, Green feels the no smoking ban will get a better reaction than if there were not a pandemic in place.
Prepping the Property
When casinos in Nevada were allowed to reopen back in June, smoking ban advocates were in full force, asking the state Gaming Control Board to address the concern. They did not. A mandate was issued by Governor Steve Sisolak that required masks or face coverings to be worn at all times. This of course cut down on smoking in the city.
The Park MGM Casino was shut down since mid-March because of the pandemic and decided to bring back the idea of no smoking. They have had time to create a non-smoking space due to the closure. Carpeting as well as wall coverings have been removed to create a new experience when players walk inside.
The casino will provide smoking areas outside the venue, so that smokers do have somewhere to go when visiting. Other MGM resorts will offer smoking facilities, including the Aria and New York-New York.
MGM has also cut smoking in other states such as Maryland and Massachusetts. The MGM National Harbor and the MGM Springfield both prohibit smoking.
Once Park MGM is open, it will be the last of the MGM Resorts properties in the US to reopen. Competitor Caesars Entertainment has venues that remain closed as well. At least three facilities remain closed, including the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
We shall see by the end of the month if the smoking ban has an affect on the revenues earned by the brand. MGM is hoping that players will be open to the ban and visit to enjoy the many options the casino property has to offer.