Non-smoking policies are taking hold over the United States’ gaming sector, cleaning up and purifying the air in those venues as they do. Part of this can be chalked up to conscious consumers who watch out for the dangers of second-hand smoking. The other comes down to the pandemic heightening the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through cigarette smoke.
Yet, a fear that casino revenue would begin to slow down in the absence of smokers – often considered the most arduous group of people to frequent casinos – has proven futile. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, so far 1037 gaming facilities in the United States now ban smoking indoors. They have suffered none of the apocalyptic consequences feared by skeptics.
Going Smoke-Free Yields Strong Results
The latest to act is the Navajo Nation which enacted a prohibition on indoors smoking this past weekend. Understandably, the lack of smoking has worried some stakeholders who have not been made aware of the potential benefits of rolling out policies that benefit the health of members of the staff and visitors.
While safety and health measures have been upheld in most gaming properties around the country, smoking has stayed under the radar for a good while. This is changing, though, as casinos have seemingly been able to continue generating a good bit of revenue regardless of any restrictions that impact smokers.
Pax and Mount Airy in Pennsylvania have been good examples of how voluntary smoking bans, first introduced during the nadir of the pandemic, have been able to reshape the entire gaming floor and create a cleaner overall environment. Even though Pennsylvania lifted any non-smoking restrictions in June, some casinos have chosen to extend the ban.
Marc Oppenheimer, who is a surveillance shift supervisor at Parx Casino, says that the property has acted in the interest of guests and team members’ health and comfort. The move was not met with antagonism, but rather people seemed to welcome the idea altogether.
Revenue and Customer Satisfaction Remain High
The fact that Parx and Mount Airy have been able to maintain high customer satisfaction while enforcing a smoking ban is indicatory that the measure works. The greatest fear that stakeholders have had is to do with the profitability of the decision.
Nothing in the financial results based on figures collected by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board suggests that either property has suffered because of its decision to adopt a safer healthy policy. Both Mount Airy and Parx Casino posted slightly bigger gross revenue year-over-year in September.
Other casinos, such as Rivers Philadelphia, have allowed smoking to continue but in designated venues on the premises and not directly on gaming floors where most of the foot traffic is.