May 17, 2024 3 min read

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Bally’s Shareholders Reject Smoke-Free Policy Proposal

Cathy Rowan, Trinity Health's director of socially responsible investments, highlighted the possible drawbacks of allowing indoor smoking at Bally’s properties

During a brief virtual annual shareholder meeting, Bally’s Corporation turned down a proposal that wanted to explore the potential benefits of implementing a smoke-free policy across all Bally’s properties, including those located in Rhode Island.

Trinity Health Proposes Smoke-Free Policy at Bally’s

The proposal was presented by Trinity Health and the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. It advocated for a comprehensive report on the financial implications of adopting a smoke-free policy within Bally’s Corporation properties, pointing out the potential health risks and financial savings. 

Cathy Rowan, the director of socially responsible investments at Trinity Health, underlined the potential disadvantages of indoor smoking within Bally’s properties, reported the Rhode Island Current. She noted that there are risks of higher health insurance premiums, increased maintenance costs. There is also the possibility of driving away patrons who prefer smoke-free spaces. 

Rowan further continued by saying that shareholders are not aware of the costs associated with Bally’s continuing to permit indoor smoking. According to Rowan, there is no transparency when it comes to the social and environmental costs.

However, despite all these arguments, shareholders still voted against the proposal.

Rhode Island implemented a ban on smoking indoors in public spaces back in 2005. However, casinos were exempt from the legislation. Proponents of a complete smoking ban and lawmakers have made attempts to overturn the exemption but so far proposed legislation has consistently failed to advance beyond committee stages.

State Representative and Union Workers Persist in Fight for Smoke-Free Casinos

Despite these setbacks, the proponents of the proposal, including Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi and casino workers represented by Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 711, are determined to not give up and continue to pursue the smoke-free initiative.

Tanzi has been consistently advocating for the proposal. She also introduced legislation to address smoking exemptions at Rhode Island casinos. Even though her attempts have failed so far, she expressed her hope for future progress.

Overall, the ongoing heated debate on smoking inside casinos in the US juxtaposes concerns about the health of employees against the casino operators’ fears that a complete ban on smoking would negatively affect revenues. 

This has led to anti-smoking groups like Trinity Health and the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation utilizing innovative approaches by proposing bans through shareholder meetings rather than waiting for legislation.

Despite the fierce opposition, efforts continue in states like New Jersey, where workers are challenging loopholes in clean air laws, highlighting the ongoing battle for healthier work environments.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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