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New Jersey State Senator Introduces Bill That Would Allow Keeping Smoking on Casino Floors

John J. Burzichelli The heated debate about whether to ban smoking on casino floors in New Jersey persists, with another bill introduced by John J. Burzichelli this Monday, as reported by AP News. The Democratic Party state Senator proposed a measure that would provide what land-based casino operators hope for, against the backdrop of casino workers’ protests standing for smoke-free air at their workplace.

Under the measure, Atlantic City’s nine casinos would be allowed to keep smoking on the currently designated 25% of their premises, with some further constraints. If passed into law, the bill would allow smoking in unenclosed areas that are at least 15 feet away from ones serviced by live dealers. Additionally, the measure would enable casino operators to build individually ventilated enclosures, which, however, casino workers could refuse to enter into.

With what he described as a compromise measure, Senator John Burzichelli confronts another bill that would completely outlaw smoking in brick-and-mortar casinos. The Democratic party politician stated that the bill aimed to prevent casinos from closing, as well as casino workers from losing their jobs. They, however, have been fighting for smoke-free air at their workplace for quite some time.

CEASE Group Issues Statement Against Burzichelli’s Bill

Casino Employees Against Smoking Casino Employees Against Smoking (Harmful) Effects (CEASE) is a group, formed by casino workers united by the common goal of removing smoking from their workplaces. Following the introduction of Burzichelli’s bill, the group issued a statement this Wednesday. They argued that the newly introduced bill would not improve the air quality at their workplaces and would not reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

Simultaneously, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network issued a statement, calling for a total smoking ban and highlighting the well-known health hazards associated with secondhand smoke. As the statement read, casino workers should not be forced “to choose between their paycheck and breathing in secondhand smoke.”

The Casino Association of New Jersey has not yet released a statement on the topic. However, it has repeatedly stated that a total smoking ban on casino floors in New Jersey would be detrimental to businesses and would drive customers to neighboring states that allow it. It would consequently deprive the state of gambling tax revenue and leave casino workers jobless.

Last month, the bill that would put a total ban on smoking in Atlantic City casinos advanced, encouraging many casino workers who have been fighting for their rights. The measure was endorsed by the New Jersey Senate Health Committee, which is the initial stage of a lengthy sequence of necessary approvals before it could be implemented.

Burzichelli’s Bill, however, is not currently scheduled for hearing.

Under a 2006 New Jersey law, Atlantic City’s nine land-based casino establishments were exempted from the smoking ban in all workplaces and places open to the public.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.