Smoking Continues: New Jersey Casinos Claim They Depend on Smokers

Efforts to prohibit smoking in New Jersey casinos

The states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania have been unable to pass a law banning smoking in casinos for several years in a row. This week, smoke-free game advocates failed again, failing to get enough votes to pass a bill.

The fact is that for American gamblers, smoking has been associated with casino games for many years. Recently, more and more employees of gambling establishments, with the support of trade union lawyers, are trying to ban smoking because of the harm to their own health. But not everything is so simple, because for casino owners, this kind of ban threatens with big losses.

In 2012, the idea of a "smoke-free casino" was tested during the opening of the Revel Resort in Atlantic City. Just two years later, the hotel complex and casino declared bankruptcy. After some time, the Ocean Resort Casino was opened with the same strict restrictions, but since 2018, smoking has been allowed here again.

New Jersey currently has a law banning smoking in public places, but casinos are not subject to it. Some gambling establishments are already taking steps towards anti-smoking advocates and proposing an 18-month ban on cigarettes and vapes in order to be able to equip smoking rooms and install more powerful ventilation systems.​

"A compromise can be brought up for discussion, which will provide the new law with the necessary votes for its approval. But I think some casino workers may just lose their jobs because of the big losses from a total smoking ban," says Senator Fred Madden.

It's possible that the ban will never go into effect, given that some Las Vegas casinos have also allowed smoking again in recent years.

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