Atlantic City Casino Smoking Ban Gains Momentum After Senate Health Committee Approval

The New Jersey Senate Health Committee has approved a bill that would completely prohibit smoking at Atlantic City casinos, which is a noteworthy move. The action was taken in response to years of lobbying by casino staff members to prohibit smoking inside of gambling facilities.

In 2006, New Jersey banned smoking inside, while casinos and simulcasting establishments were exempt. For more than three years, advocacy opposing these allowances has been conducted by casino personnel. Currently, 25 percent of the gaming floor at the casinos in Atlantic City is allowed for smoking, but there is insufficient containment in these areas, thus smoke spreads to other places.

Origins of the Smoking Ban Proposal

New Jersey saw a surge in support for reexamining a smoking ban across all casinos following the July 2021 lifting of the interim restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 outbreak. Employees of Atlantic City’s casinos then pursued legislation to make the state’s casino smoking ban permanent.

The proposal has sparked concerns on both sides of the argument. Christina Renna, President, and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, expressed worries about potential layoffs if a smoking ban is implemented, emphasizing the economic impact on the casino industry. On the other hand, Nicola Vitola, a Borgata dealer and a leader in the movement to ban casino smoking, highlighted health concerns for casino employees working in close proximity to patrons who smoke.

In the event that the nonsmoking measure is approved, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has indicated that he will sign it. The talks are becoming more complex as the debate progresses, with the opposing viewpoints keeping the possible effects of a smoking ban on Atlantic City’s economic environment at the forefront of the conversation. The ultimate choice will have a big impact on the atmosphere and working conditions in Atlantic City’s famous casinos.

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