January 30, 2023 3 min read


Rhode Island Reintroduced Bill That Would Ban Smoking in Casinos

A bill that seeks to ban smoking in casinos resurfaced again this year

The state has been trying to get it through but hasn’t been successful yet. Many of the casino employees have been outspoken about their support of such a ban.

Tanzi Making Another Push

Rep. Teresa Tanzi again brought up the issue of smoking in Rhode Island’s casinos last week. The new bill aims to update the 2004 Public Health and Workplace Safety Act, which saw casinos exempt from the ban on smoking at the workplace. Tanzi joined representatives of the casino workers’ union in Rhode Island to bring new life to the discussion.

“Casino workers are Rhode Islanders, parents, caregivers, taxpayers and human beings, and they deserve the same protections as everyone else in our state”, she had said back in 2022, and the sentiment has remained pretty much unchanged since then. Although casinos banned smoking upon reopening in 2020, they lifted that ban last year.

So, the issue of smoking in Rhode Island casinos had to be brought up again. Back in May, 2022, Tanzi said that casino workers deserve to be protected the same way everyone else is, and underlined that casino workers are in fact disproportionately affected by second-hand smoking. Multiple employees have shared stories of how badly second-hand smoking affects them.

There are many other people who agree casinos shouldn’t be exempt from a ban on smoking. Citizens in New Jersey also supported the notion of banning smoking in Atlantic City casinos last year. Improving ventilation in the game rooms and other ways of circumventing the harms of second-hand smoking in casinos was not enough.

Many Support the Smoking Ban

In fact, it seemed AC casinos were also taking the issue very seriously. Employees were forbidden to comment on the issue at all, with casino team members needing the authorization to discuss the issue and represent the casino’s views. If this was not evidence enough, let’s say it clearly – casinos do not support such a ban.

There are multiple reports citing worried high-ranking casino officers on how non-smoking areas generate lower revenue, and how limited bans negatively affect the bottom line, sometimes by as much as 20%. Another drawback of banning smoking would then be that the decrease in revenue will result in having to cut back staff as well.

However, government data shows clearly that indoor smoking, including second-hand smoking, increases air pollution to such high levels, that it can become dangerous after only two hours of exposure. Considering that casino employees are subjected to this for at least eight hours daily, it’s safe to assume the bottom line shouldn’t be taking precedence over health.

An ABC6 report cited a woman with a career of 30 years as a casino employee saying that she was actually feeling healthy during the COVID restrictions. According to the report, her asthma had stopped flaring up, and she even got off her medications. Unfortunately, her condition started causing problems again, after casinos reinstated smoking last year.


Kyamil is a big tech fan, who loves hummus on everything and has enjoyed writing from a young age. From essays, through personal art, to news pieces and more serious tech analysis. In recent years he’s found fintech and gambling collide with all his interests, so he truly shares our core passion for the entire gambling scene and furthering the education of the mass citizen on these topics.

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