- Legal States
Silvia Pavlof January 26, 2023 3 min read
Indoor Smoking Returns at Rivers Casino Philadelphia
Rivers Casino Philadelphia has again allowed smoking on its gaming floor
The Pennsylvania casino brought smoking back in October 2022 after a ban was in place in connection with COVID restrictions on mask-wearing throughout the pandemic.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia Did Not Make an Official Announcement
Rivers Casino Philadelphia joined Mount Airy Casino in introducing smoking back at its gaming space. This means that the only casino in Pennsylvania that remains completely smoke-free is Parx Casino.
According to Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act, designated smoking areas must be limited to no more than half of the total square footage of the gambling floor. However, even with advanced building and ventilation systems, it is not possible to eliminate exposure to smoke when smoking is allowed inside.
In the case of Mount Airy Casino, the introduction of smoking back to the venue was publicly announced on Facebook. The casino was bashed in the comments with people noting it is quite disappointing that the smoking ban was lifted.
It could be that out of fear of such reactions Rivers Casino Philadelphia did not explicitly announce that smoking is again allowed at the venue. The casino posted about new features that are coming in 2023 and in between the list including the opening of a new Italian-American steakhouse, a new pizza shop, and a new black card lounge, it was mentioned that designated smoking areas are available at the gaming floor.
Unusual Decision Considering the No-Smoking Trend in the Gambling Industry
The reasons for reintroducing smoking at the Rivers Casino Philadelphia are not clear but it probably has to do with the fact that revenues from slot machines and table games at the casino have been declining.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia’s revenue took a hit due to the pandemic. During the eight months leading up to the pandemic in FY 2019/2020, it reached at least $14 million in revenue seven times and hit $15.1 million in slot revenue in February 2020.
However, both table games and slot revenue has been consistently lower than pre-pandemic numbers, averaging $8.03 million in revenue for the fiscal year 2022/2023.
It is not clear how smoking is going to bring back the customers who are probably enjoying the multitude of online options that have been on the uptake in the past few years.
Another major problem is that it is more and more likely for smoking at casinos to get a legislative ban any time soon. In March 2022, Allegheny County Democrats Sen. Jay Costa and Rep. Dan Frankel introduced the Protecting Workers from Secondhand Smoke Act in Pennsylvania to end indoor smoking in casinos and protect casino employees from secondhand smoke.
The bill aims to eliminate loopholes in the Clean Indoor Air Act and expand the definition of smoking to include e-cigarettes. It also grants local governments the power to implement more protective smoke-free ordinances than state law. The bill’s supporters are optimistic about its chances due to a recent change in political makeup and the progress of similar efforts in New Jersey.
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.
Casino January 26, 2023