Experts: Efforts to ban smoking in Atlantic City casinos wouldn’t succeed in Nevada

Experts: Efforts to ban smoking in Atlantic City casinos wouldn’t succeed in Nevada

New Jersey is considering a ban on smoking in Atlantic City casinos. Nevada has just two casinos that are smoke-free. The industry is the biggest employer of jobs in Nevada. Last year, Atlantic city reported $4.7 billion in gaming revenue. More than $1.36 billion came from New Jersey's regulated internet casino sites. Gaming revenue in the market has been in a 16-year freefall. It hit a low of $2.56 billion last year. In 2006, it was $5.2 billion.

Nevada's Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in most public places and businesses except casinos. The law was updated in 2019 to include vapor products or e-cigarettes. Park MGM on the Strip is the only smoke-free casino on Nevada's Strip. Fernley Nugget is Nevada’s only other voluntary smoke free casino. Most casino officials declined to comment on smoking bans. Nevada Resort Association president says its members have invested heavily in new technology to reduce smoke in casinos and their poker rooms.  Nevadas Resort association president Virginia Valentine says casinos watch for any changes in customer preferences.

Boardwalk casino operators oppose the ban. C3 Gaming report predicted smokers wouldn't flee Atlantic City casinos if smoking were eliminated. The New Jersey legislation is backed by casino workers and the governor. Under current laws, just 25 percent of the casino floor can allow smoking. Hard Rock Atlantic city president Joe Lupo says smoking sections make 50 percent more money than non-smoking games. New York and Connecticut have smoking bans. Just four Pennsylvania casinos currently allow it. Spectrum Gaming and CBRE gaming analyst John DeCree estimate Atlantic Coast casinos could see gaming revenue declines up to 25%.

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