Washoe County Nevada Residents in Favor of Casino Smoking Ban

Over the past few years, one hot topic of debate regarding casinos is smoking. Players and employees have been vying for a smoking ban and some casinos have started to pull away from allowing smoking, setting up designated areas for players to go to light up. Just recently, a research study was published by the Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy, showing that 60% of residents in Washoe County are in favor of a law that bans smoking at all casinos in the county. This would include venues in Reno and other major cities.

Key Findings of the Study

The numbers of the study are a direct change from data collected years ago when the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act was approved. That was back in 2006. The act prohibits smoking in most public places, but casinos as well as stand-alone bars are exempt.

Back then, just over 52% of residents in the state were in favor of the casinos being exempt, while 44.6% wanted to see it allowed only in bars. In this new study, a total of 77% of those surveyed said they do not like smelling like smoke after they come home from a casino. When it comes to being bothered by smoke, 65% say they are when visiting a casino.

The majority of residents said they would be more likely to visit a bar or a casino if it had a smoking ban. A whopping 79% of residents feel that customers should be able to breathe air that is smoke-free. A total of 21% said they feel the business should be able to make that decision.

A Pandemic Smoke-Free Push

This year, the issue of secondhand smoke before more prevalent due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As medical experts learned more about the virus, it was clear that smoking could be a cause of spread. Because of this, many facilities decided to ban smoking on-site for the time being. Visitors must also wear masks so they do not spread germs while talking, coughing laughing, etc. Many casinos used the need for mask wearing as a way to say that smoking cannot take place except for outdoors.

When casinos began considering reopening, medical experts weighed in and said that facilities should be smoke free to help slow the spread of the virus. Experts also feel that while casinos have been able to operate smoke free as of now, it is a great time to consider creating a permanent ban.

Many casinos are making changes to provide more non-gaming amenities as well as become family-friendly spaces. As these changes are made, consideration will have to be given to smoking as many families will not want to travel to destinations where their loved ones will be subjected to secondhand smoke.

It will be interesting to see if this study as well as the pandemic will impact the industry when it comes to smoking on-site. We could see a major move made by operators to alleviate the activity altogether to promote a healthier environment for both guests and employees.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.