Atlantic City Casino Smoking Cessation Legislation Gains Support

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Posted on: January 29, 2024, 04:35h. 

Last updated on: January 30, 2024, 05:52h.

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Atlantic City casino smoking is allowed connected up to 25% of nan gaming floors. But that could soon alteration aft authorities seeking to adjacent nan indoor baccy usage loophole moved retired of its first committee Monday successful Trenton.

Atlantic City casino smokingSupporters of authorities to require Atlantic City casinos to extremity indoor smoking observe aft a measure gained committee support connected Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. The casinos declare thousands of jobs would beryllium mislaid if smoking is extinguished. (Image: NJ Senate Democrats)

Senate Bill 1493 seeks to amend New Jersey’s 2006 Smoke-Free Air Act to adjacent nan baccy exemption afforded to casinos successful Atlantic City. The authorities was passed via statement lines Monday successful nan Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.

S1493 comes from authorities Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex), who has been trying to make nan 9 casinos down nan statement spell smoke-free for years. The authorities is his reintroduced casino smoking bill that was numbered Senate Bill 264 past year.

Monday’s 5-1 ballot saw Vitale and his committee Democratic colleagues ballot successful favour of moving nan anti-casino smoking statute forward. Vitale was joined by Sens. Renee Burgess (D-Irvington), Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City), Senate President Pro Tempore Shirley Turner (D-Ewing Township), and Andrew Zwicker (D-Hillsborough).

Turner is simply a superior cosponsor of S1493 and has championed efforts to extinguish casino smoking successful erstwhile legislative sessions. Turner and Zwicker sat successful connected nan committee for Sens. Troy Singleton (D-Moorestown) and Angela McKnight (D-Jersey City).

Two committee Republicans, Sens. Owen Henry (R-Old Bridge) and Holly Schepisi (R-Westwood), refrained from voting. Sen. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood) voted successful nan minority.

Casino Smoking Milestone

Efforts to extremity casino smoking successful Atlantic City person lingered successful nan Trenton superior for galore years. It’s been much than 18 years since astir workers successful New Jersey gained nan ineligible correct to activity successful an situation free of toxic secondhand smoke.

Members of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) opportunity they cannot hold immoderate longer. The grassroots coalition that started successful New Jersey has rallied support for smoke-free casinos successful Atlantic City. The group has since expanded, pinch chapters successful Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Kansas, and Virginia, wherever casino smoking besides persists.

CEASE hailed Monday’s committee vote.

We convey nan committee for voting to walk authorities that will instantly amended our workplace conditions and afloat protect thousands of frontline casino workers from nan dangers of secondhand smoke,” a connection provided to read.

“Today is simply a awesome time successful our conflict for a healthier workplace, and we won’t extremity fighting for this authorities until we tin yet respire smoke-free aerial astatine work. We impulse lawmakers to walk this measure erstwhile it comes to nan Senate floor, because nary 1 should beryllium forced to take betwixt their wellness and a paycheck,” nan merchandise continued.

S1493 has been directed to nan Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, wherever it’s group for further consideration.

Jobs vs. Health

The crux of nan legislative statement astir Atlantic City casino smoking boils down to determining if a baccy prohibition would consequence successful nan 9 casinos winning little money connected their gaming floors. Two studies connected nan rumor reached different conclusions.

The Casino Association of New Jersey commissioned Spectrum Gaming, 1 of nan astir respected investigation firms successful nan U.S. gaming industry, to analyse nan effect of a smoking ban.

Spectrum said successful its 2022 study that a afloat smoking prohibition would result successful a astir 11% decline successful brick-and-mortar gross gaming gross successful nan first twelvemonth aft implementation. The casino triumph drop-off would lead to arsenic overmuch arsenic $44 cardinal successful reduced gaming taxes and could lead to arsenic galore arsenic 2,500 occupation losses, Spectrum said.

In a contrasting study, C3 Gaming, formed only successful 2021, wrote successful a 2022 investigation little titled  “Evaluation of Post-Pandemic Non-Smoking Trends successful U.S. Casinos” that nan allowance of indoor smoking is no longer captious to gaming gross health.

C3 researchers countered claims made by Atlantic City casino execs that suggested gamblers who for illustration to fume would return their business to adjacent Philadelphia. That’s wherever respective casinos proceed to let indoor cigaret and cigar smoking.

Should nan New Jersey Legislature adjacent nan smoking loophole and prohibit smoking successful Atlantic City casinos, gamblers from New York, New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania will person only 4 options if they want to bet successful a smoking situation and nary of them offers nan aforesaid gaming/entertainment acquisition arsenic Atlantic City,” nan C3 study declared.

The C3 conclusion references indoor smoking remaining astatine Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Rivers Casino Philadelphia, and Valley Forge Casino Resort.

Wind Creek Bethlehem, astir an hr northbound of Philly, besides allows indoor smoking. Parx Casino Philadelphia, however, which is nan richest casino successful nan state, does not.

Some lawmakers successful New Jersey — chiefly Republicans — deliberation location mightiness beryllium imaginable solutions to amended protect worker wellness than imposing a complete ban. New Jersey Sen. Vince Polistina (R-Atlantic), erstwhile a awesome protagonist of a casino smoking prohibition who flipped his position aft proceeding from nan casinos, is reportedly considering introducing a concession measure that would proceed to let immoderate shape of indoor smoking.

Ideas floated see fully enclosed smoking rooms wherever slot machines and a fewer array games would operate. The casinos person assured lawmakers that only unpaid labor would activity successful specified environments.

CEASE members aren’t buying it.

“Sen. Polistina should not present his alleged ‘compromise’ measure that will only discuss nan wellness of Atlantic City workers,” CEASE wrote. “Only a mates of weeks ago, he told workers that [S1493] did not person nan votes to get retired of this committee. But present we are celebrating this milestone. The train is leaving nan position and it’s clip for him to get connected committee aliases get retired of nan way.”

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