June 7, 2023 3 min read


Virginia Casino Workers Team Up to Fight Gaming Floor Smoking

Recent incendiary comments by a lawmaker in Rhode Island have further galvanized efforts across the US to fight for the end of indoors casino gaming floor smoking

The latest group of people to team up against the legal loophole are Virginia casino workers who have joined Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE), a national group that is dedicated to putting an end to smoking on gaming floors.

Band Together to Stop Indoor Casino Smoking

CEASE was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic as a response to the dangerous conditions that workers were forced to work in, notwithstanding casino smoking exemptions. Interestingly, the organization was formed after workers decided to fight for an extension of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s order that effectively prohibited indoor smoking as part of the anti-COVID measures.

Workers and advocates for smoke-free casinos used this as a catalyst to begin a national movement, that has already spanned several other states, and that insists that casinos should not be exempted from the public space indoor smoking policy that is in place in most states.

The movement has helped a lot in helping bust some myths about ending casino smoking, such as the potential loss of revenue for companies, which CEASE argued, is not true, as well as opponents’ arguments that ventilation systems filter toxic fumes efficiently enough – another claim that was shot down by scientists and engineers.

Casinos have been doing their best to adapt and use preemptive measures. For one, Rivers Portsmouth has introduced several changes to its gaming floor, including the allocation of smoke-free areas. In fact, the casino now features 80% smoke-free areas and has reported no decline in revenue directly related to the imposition of smoke prohibition mandates. Some states have indeed been more proactive in the matter.

CEASE Virginia though is just the latest chapter in this nationwide movement, which includes similar chapters in New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. CEASE though has not been particularly successful in enacting actual legislative change, although its vociferous arguments have indeed ruffled the feathers of some more obstreperous lawmakers in the process.

Ending indoor smoking is still a long process and one that will undoubtedly invite its own challenges. Lawmakers have been paying lip service to the issue and there has been little action momentum through legislative bodies.

In New Jersey, Gov. Murphy has pronounced himself in support of workers’ health, but the powerful gambling industry has cautioned that ending smoke prematurely could further depress results and slow down recovery from the pandemic. Workers have responded by arguing that their health should come first.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

1 Comment

  • William Long
    June 8, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    The casino won’t see any of my money until they protect me, their workers, and their clientele from second hand smoke. Good luck the the workers in their quest.

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