Rhode Island Senate President Says if Casino Smoking Offends You, ‘Stay Home’

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Posted on: December 22, 2023, 09:07h. 

Last updated on: December 22, 2023, 09:13h.

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Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D-North Providence) is known for fancying a fag. It’s presumably why he’s siding pinch smokers successful nan state’s information of whether to extremity indoor baccy usage astatine Bally’s Twin River Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton.

Rhode Island casino smoking Bally'sRhode Island Senate President Dominic Ruggerio speaks astatine nan rebranding arena of Bally’s Twin River Lincoln successful September 2021. Ruggerio is nary instrumentality of extinguishing smoking wrong nan state’s 2 casinos. (Image: GoLocal)

Ruggerio believes smoke-free casinos would costs nan authorities taxation money because galore gamblers bask smoking. With iGaming slated to statesman successful April aft authorities lawmakers and Gov. Dan McKee (D) this twelvemonth approved a measure authorizing online slot machines and array games, Ruggerio says gamblers who dislike nan smell of fume tin enactment home.

If you person iGaming, you tin enactment home. You don’t person to go. If that [smoking] offends you, you tin enactment location and gamble,” Ruggerio said during an question and reply pinch The Boston Globe.

It isn’t nan first clip nan Senate president expressed alternatively beardown opposition to casino workers who desire a clean-air workplace. In June, Ruggerio said that nan casino workers who are complaining astir cigaret and cigar fume “took those jobs knowing” that location was smoking.

Now, each of a sudden, there’s a mini group who feels that it’s not bully for their health,” Ruggerio said. “Wear a mask. Work successful an area wherever they don’t licence smoking. I deliberation nan accommodation has to beryllium made, but not legislatively but betwixt nan workers and Bally’s.”

State Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Narragansett) says she’ll present authorities to prohibition casino smoking erstwhile nan 2024 legislative convention originates successful January.

President Demands $15M for Smoking Ban

Ruggerio argues a smoking prohibition astatine Rhode Island’s 2 casinos would costs nan authorities $15 cardinal a twelvemonth successful reduced gaming taxes.

As I told nan unions: springiness america nan $15 cardinal that we are going to lose. They haven’t ponied up yet. If they want to springiness america nan gross that we will suffer arsenic a result, I’ll extremity smoking,” Ruggerio declared.

Ruggerio claims that galore Rhode Island gamblers checked retired Encore Boston Harbor, a $2.6 cardinal integrated edifice from Wynn Resorts, erstwhile it opened successful June 2019.

“They couldn’t fume there, particularly successful nan winter, truthful they came backmost here,” Ruggerio stated.

Massachusetts rule prohibits casino smoking. Casino smoking is besides nary much astatine Connecticut’s 2 tribal casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. The Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation decided to support their casinos smoke-free successful nan pandemic’s aftermath.

Rhode Island Smoking Law

Under nan state’s 2004 Public Health and Workplace Safety Act, Rhode Island’s 2 commercialized casinos tin designate parts of their gaming level for smoking. The spaces are to beryllium “physically separated” from nan nonsmoking area and beryllium equipped pinch a abstracted ventilation system.

Many casino workers and immoderate guests opportunity nan secondhand fume doesn’t only enactment successful nan smoking conception but permeates nan supposedly smoke-free areas. A grassroots conjugation of Bally’s workers formed a local section of CEASE, Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects, an statement that began successful New Jersey wherever casino workers are fighting to make Atlantic City casinos spell smoke-free.

CEASE also has chapters successful Pennsylvania and Kansas. To date, nary CEASE group has helped champion changes to their state’s casino smoking laws.

It appeared New Jersey would clasp a afloat Senate and Assembly ballot connected authorities to extremity Atlantic City casino smoking until respective Republicans flip-flopped their support successful committee. Those lawmakers now want to perceive from nan casinos pinch imaginable remedial solutions different than a complete smoking ban. The Atlantic City casino manufacture contends that a smoking prohibition would lead to complete 2,000 occupation layoffs.

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