Atlantic City Council recently passed a resolution that closes the window allowing New Jersey gaming resorts to permit smoking. The move is receiving support from a leading advocacy group opposing casino smoking.
In the 25th August meeting, Atlantic City Council voted in favor of a resolution that supports New Jersey Senate Bill 1878. The legislation seeks to end the indoor smoking ban exempting casinos and simulcasting facilities.
Americans for Nonsmokers Rights (ANSR) group thanked Atlantic City Council for the positive steps it has taken to ensure that casino workers are not forced to choose between their health and paycheck.
New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Act of 2006 banned all indoor smoking in public spaces but provided casinos in Atlantic City immunity from the ban. Casinos are required to designate up to 25 percent of the gaming space for smoking.
Atlantic casinos oppose the idea of banning indoor smoking, arguing that it would cause revenue decline. Anti-smoking advocates reject the argument citing Pennsylvania casinos which reported record gross revenue in May despite without smoking.
Cynthia Hallett, the ANSR CEO, says that the biggest obstacle to getting the legislation passed seems to lie with Senate President Stephen Sweeney. Earlier in May, Sweeney stated that a smoke ban would chase away a percentage of gamblers.
Hallet is, however, determined to see the legislators pass the legislation this year.
“State legislators will have no choice but to pass this legislation during the lame-duck session later this year. Tired industry arguments to keep indoor smoking no longer carry weight, especially since Atlantic City casinos thrived whole operating smoke-free.”