Pennsylvania Seeks to Ban Smoking on Casino Gaming Floors

A debate rages on in New Jersey as to whether casino gaming floors should be allowed to have smoking on. The people opposing the measure argue that it’s more sanitary and safer for workers. Those against cite Pennsylvania as an example of a state where smoking has not been abolished from casino floors.

Pennsylvania to Be Benchmark for Casinos in USA

The pro-smoking camp may soon need to find another role model as Keystone State Rep. Dan Frankel and Sen. Jay Costa are pushing ahead with legislation that they hope would close a lingering loophole that allows casinos to host smokers.

If successful, this would be the end of smoking in public places, including private clubs and casinos. According to Frankel, the law has been lenient with private businesses allowing them to figure out the benefits of non-smoking for themselves. Failing that, Frankel is now prepared to enact the necessary legislation:

“If we cannot count on private businesses to do the right thing, even when it’s the financially smart thing to do, then it’s time for political leaders to step in and insist on the protection of the health of our constituents.”

Keystone State Rep. Dan Frankel

The economic impact of banning smoking from casino floors in New Jersey has been discussed at some length. People against the ban argue that the COVID-19 slowdown would be compounded by chasing away smokers to places like Pennsylvania. But what if Pennsylvania too shuts down its casinos for smokers? John Donnelly, a Rivers Casino counsel, acknowledged that the issue is quite divisive, admitting that many of the property’s visitors are actually smokers.

However, many patrons who don’t smoke do not like the smoke, Donnelly explained for Action News 4, a local media outlet. The argument against smoking is based in health considerations as well as economic performance.

Casinos to Remain Competitive Despite the Ban

According to those for the ban, there are numerous examples of casinos across the United States that ban smoking and have not lost revenue.

Frankel is convinced that Pennsylvanian residents should not be forced to choose between health and employment. Many others agree that the PA Clean Indoor Air Act should not exempt casinos or private clubs from its remit.

There is strong evidence to suggest that many patrons in Pennsylvanian casinos have been discouraged from gambling because someone on the casino floor was smoking. Until a smoking ban is rolled in, though, it would be hard to gauge the exact economic impact the measure would have. Whereas New Jersey fears a downturn, Pennsylvania is looking optimistically at the future.

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