More than 120 out of 839 tribal and commercial casino operators have introduced a smoking ban. While some operators plan to reinstate smoking as soon as the mandatory requirement for wearing a mask is lifted, we wonder if smoke-free casino floors is a temporary event or it may result in significant changes in the near future.
More Us Casinos Operate Smoke-free in the Post-COVID-19 Environment
More than 120 casino operators who resumed operations in the post-COVID-19 environment introduced smoking bans. In total there are 989 commercial and tribal casinos across the United States. Data from the American Gaming Association shows that so far, 839 tribal and commercial casinos have reopened, while some 150 remain closed. This shows that an excessive of 14% of all casinos who resumed operations are now smoke-free. With that in mind, the operators who now offer smoke-free facilities used to allow smoking before the spread of COVID-19.
How well the smoking ban within gaming facilities is accepted by the visitors will determine if more operators will introduce this measure in the near future. Keeping in mind that in most states, face masks are mandatory when indoors, smoke-free casino floors was one of the requirements that many operators had to accept. And while some operators find this as an opportunity to index how lack of smoking would influence their businesses, other operators plan to reinstate smoking as soon as masks are not mandatory when indoors. With that being said, operators also want to look after their visitors by establishing designated areas for smoking which also feature social distancing.
The American Non-Smokers’ Rights Foundation recently shared a full list of all commercial and tribal casinos venues which are smoke free. Looking at that data, we have found that operators from 25 states in the US have implemented a smoking ban. Back in mid-March, all casinos along with other entertainment venues were ordered to close around the US. After a few months of suspended operations many of the operators returning to business introduced a smoke ban at their facilities.
Not All States Share the Same Rules When It Comes to Smoking in Casinos
Last month, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak announced that all Nevadans and guests must mandatory wear a mask in public places. It was then later clarified, that casino visitors are allowed to lift their masks when they drink or smoke. Looking at Nevada, earlier this week, the Governor ordered the shutdown of bars in seven counties. This yet another effort of the state to reduce the increasing amount of positive-COVID-19 cases.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Wind River Casino in Bethlehem chose to introduce a smoking ban for its facility before reopening doors for visitors. With that in mind, remaining casino operators were pushed into introducing a smoking ban by the Gaming Control Board. Doug Harbach, spokesman for the GCB in Pennsylvania noted that the face masks were mandatory for everyone and smokers were not an exception. Consequently, casinos in Pennsylvania were allowed to offer smoking at an external, specially designated area that also follows social distancing.
Smoking was also prohibited in Michigan, by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Spokeswoman for the regulator, Mary Kay Bean said: “Under our reopening guidelines, smoking is prohibited on the casino floor, but permitted in an alternative area (referring to an extenral designated smoke areas).” She further noted: “The guidelines also require all patrons to wear masks covering nose and mouth and to do so continuously while in the casino unless eating or drinking.” The spokeswoman outlined that the smoking ban was included because the visitors needed to remove their masks in order to smoke.