Atlantic City Casino Smoking Ban Bill Revived
Six state senators reintroduced a bill on the first day of the new legislative session Wednesday that would ban smoking at the nine Atlantic City casinos. The bill has the backing of Gov. Phil Murphy and Dr. Herb Conaway, the chairman of Health Committee in the Assembly.
Conaway wants to pass a bill to ban smoking inside casinos in lame duck.
Atlantic City Casino Smoking Ban Bill is being revived. Advocates of ban express confidence. Nicole Vitola, a spokeswoman for the movement called Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects, predicted passage of the bill once it comes up for a vote. Smoking at the casinos was banned for about a year due to COVID-19 concerns, but the prohibition was lifted in time for last July 4 weekend.
The main roadblock to a vote on the bill is Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a powerful ally of the city's casino operators. He was defeated for reelection in November by an obscure Republican challenger. The correlation between bans and reduced revenue has been tenuous at best. Proponents of a ban hope to have better luck with incoming Senate president Nicholas Scutari.
Bart Blatstein promises an indoor water park will open in 2023. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday. The waterpark will be 103,000 square feet and include an adult section with alcohol and manicures and foot massages.
The bill to add a surcharge to Atlantic City hotel casino room costs passed in both the state Senate and Assembly on Monday. The surcharges were lowered from $3 per room per night to $2 and the amount for hiring and retention of police and fire department personnel was limited to 37% of all surcharging revenue received by the city for the next three years.
Matthew Doherty is leaving his position as executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. CRDA Vice Chairman Rich Tolson is also leaving the position.