October 25, 2023 3 min read


Support Swells for New Jersey Casino Smoking Ban

The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s highest-circulation newspaper, has voiced its support for a comprehensive casino smoking ban, riling public support for the measure

The Garden State’s lawmakers should soon revisit long-pending casino smoking legislation. Assembly Bill 2151 and Senate Bill 264 aim to make Atlantic City casinos entirely smoke-free, eliminating the existing provision that allows up to 25% of the floor space for indoor tobacco use. This move would align New Jersey with the ongoing US trend to safeguard gambling venue staff and patrons from secondhand smoke.

Current Regulations Are Woefully Outdated

A recent publication by the Star-Ledger Editorial Board was optimistic that the new makeup of the Legislature would allow the anti-casino smoking bills to progress in the lame-duck legislative session. Their op-ed expressed relief and solidarity with the casino workers, stating that a bipartisan effort to ban smoking in New Jersey’s casinos is a welcome step forward.

We know we can speak for every croupier, cashier, cocktail server, custodian, and pit clerk when we issue the following statement: Hallelujah.

Star-Ledger Editorial Board

The casino smoking issue in New Jersey heralds back to the state’s Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006. This legislation granted Atlantic City casinos the exemption to allow smoking on a quarter of their gaming floors. Despite the passage of 17 years, casino staff members continue to be exposed to hazardous secondhand smoke, leading to long-term health issues.

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted that designated smoking areas within casinos do not fully protect people in supposedly smoke-free sections, as they are still subject to dangerous levels of Particulate Matter (PM). The CDC concluded that a complete ban on all indoor smoking was the only feasible solution.

A Smoking Ban May Benefit the Whole Sector

Senators Joe Vitale and Shirley Turner are the primary sponsors of Senate Bill 264, believing the legislation will gain approval after the November elections. Senator Vitale lamented the inaction on the well-known dangers of secondhand smoke for many years. He noted that many employees have suffered severe health issues, some even losing their lives.

Sadly, the industry couldn’t care less and uses claims that falsely predict economic impact.

Senator Joe Vitale

The Casino Association of New Jersey, representing the nine casinos in Trenton, commissioned a study last year that argued a smoking ban would reduce revenues by approximately 11%, potentially leading to up to 2,500 job losses. However, an alternative July 2022 study by Las Vegas-based research firm C3 Gaming concluded that casinos that voluntarily adopted a smoke-free policy saw increased profits.
The issue of smoking in New Jersey’s casinos has been a long-standing debate, and the public endorsement from the Star-Ledger provides further impetus for this vital change. A comprehensive casino smoking ban in Atlantic City represents a significant step forward in addressing casino employees’ and visitors’ health and safety as more jurisdictions adopt similar measures.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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