Advocates of the proposed ban on indoor smoking in casinos said they were ready to help provide alternatives for smoking customers as long as the loophole in casino regulations is closed.
At a news conference held in the middle of the week at the United Auto Workers’ headquarters at the Cornerstone Building on New Road, campaigners said that they would back the establishment of outdoor smoking areas and even outdoor gaming areas that allow smoking, as long as operators guarantee there is sufficient ventilation and no casino workers are required to interact with smoking customers.
According to the co-leader of Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effect, who also works as a casino dealer, Pete Naccarelli, the creation of an outdoor smoking area is considered a solution to the unpleasant situation that casino workers and other non-smoking customers have been forced to put up with.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, two pieces of legislation, called S264 and A2151, respectively, are seeking to suspend indoor smoking in casino venues and simulcasting facilities, to bring the rules for casinos in line with the law under which indoor smoking is banned in all other public facilities across the state of New Jersey. The two bills are co-sponsored by about 50% of New Jersey’s lawmakers, and campaigners are asking local legislators to make a swift move on them at the time when their meetings start again in September.
Casino Operators Say Indoor Smoking Ban Would Lead to Lay-Offs Across the Industry
Representatives of the campaigner groups seeking a non-smoking ban to become reality in casinos across the state of New Jersey have noted that the proposed bills had been written in a way that allowed casino operators to establish outdoor areas that are not actually outdoors, and this would not be an acceptable move.
Under the existing provisions, smoking is allowed in one-quarter of New Jersey casinos’ gaming spaces. However, the air is shared between smoking and non-smoking areas, which makes things unacceptable for non-smoking customers and casino workers. The establishment of enclosed indoor rooms is not a solution, according to campaigners because workers would still be exposed to second-hand air because they would have to work there.
The two aforementioned bills – S264 and A2151 – have faced strong opposition from the Casino Association of New Jersey which claims that the implementation of an indoor smoking ban would have a negative effect on the local casino industry and could lead to some lay-offs. The proposed pieces of legislation, however, have been backed by most lawmakers from South Jersey, including the entire Atlantic City delegation.
According to the results of a new study released by C3 Gaming earlier in 2022, an indoor smoking ban no longer results in a loss of casino customers for the operators. Another research, held by Stockton University in April, found that 62% of the poll’s respondents back the proposed elimination of smoking in casinos across the state.
Some campaigners have noted that there is currently a shortage of casino workers, which makes the idea of massive lay-offs sound ridiculous, especially at times when the labor shortage is considered severe.