Twenty states in the U.S., such as Massachusetts and New York, have banned indoor smoking in all retail casinos. They have influenced many tribal gaming facilities to ban the practice. For example, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and the Navajo Nation's four casinos prohibit smoking.
Some leading casino operators in states that allow indoor smoking in gaming venues decided to be smoke-free to date. Yet, Atlantic City is a big smoking sanctuary for New Jersey players who smoke as nine gaming floors allow it. The Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) president recently announced publicly that it is early to ban indoor smoking in the region.
Concerns That the Ban Might Adversely Affect New Jersey Casinos
Mark Giannantonio, CANJ's new president, has worked as Resorts Casino Hotel's CEO for a decade, and it is one of Atlantic City's oldest casinos. He told The New York Times reporters that an indoor casino smoking ban might be necessary in the future, but not now.
The executive believes that casino operators should continue allowing players to smoke indoors. Giannantonio informed The Times that this is the wrong time to advocate for the ban. Besides, state legislation hasn't yet prohibited casino smoking.
Giannantonio added that New Jersey's gaming industry is facing many economic threats now that Atlantic City's smoking ban can aggravate.
- Three new gaming venues in New York City
- Prolonged recession
- Post Coronavirus pandemic effects
The president referred to Spectrum Gaming Group's report while emphasizing that the ban can decrease casino revenue by 10 to 11 percent and result in a loss of 2,500 casino jobs. The report states that Spectrum forecasts that a smoking ban will cause 1,021 to 2,512 job losses depending on its impact on various casinos' revenue.
Giannantonio stated that some players might opt to visit Pennsylvania casinos if New Jersey casinos impose the ban. Besides, smokers spend more time playing when they pause games for cigarette breaks. The report adds that casinos might lose $16.62 after every two hours.
Casinos Halted Smoking During the COVID-19 Pandemic
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy prohibited smoking in all Atlantic City casinos during the pandemic. But, smoking returned after a year when the governor lifted his emergency health order before July 4, 2021. The following three Pennsylvania casinos didn't lift the smoking ban when players resumed smoking in New Jersey casinos:
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia-it has been smoke-free for six months
- Mount Airy Casino-it allowed smoking in March 2022
- Parx Casino-it banned the practice in June 2021
Rivers Casino created an outdoor patio for its clients, and they willingly obeyed its new smoking regulation. Yet, some casino operators didn't struggle during the pandemic's smoking ban.
Instead, Atlantic City casinos generated 11 percent more revenue in Q1 2021, unlike in Q1 2019. Some people claim that it was because non-smoking environments made players relax.
What Will Happen Soon?
Casino Employees Against Smoking's Effects (CEASE) have a lot of support from the state's legislature to present anti-smoking bills to Murphy, who promised to pass the bill and end casino smoking.
Even so, Nicholas Scutari, New Jersey Senate President, wants the bill to pass and denied accusations that he was preventing the casino smoking legislation from passing before the 2023 elections.