Atlantic City Casino Smoking Ban Could be on the Way

The majority of state lawmakers now fully support a complete ban

by - Wednesday, July 6th, 2022 4:19

Casino smoking ban

A smoking ban in Atlantic City casinos is looking much more likely as four more state senators and six assembly members signed on as co-sponsors to bills that will implement an outright ban.
Majority of lawmakers now fully support ban

The move already has the support of Gov. Phil Murphy alongside the Atlantic City Council and is seen as the latest step to improve the working conditions of employees at the city’s casinos. Just last week strike action was averted following a last-minute deal that saw casino workers receive pay increases in line with the rise in the cost of living.

A majority of members of the assembly have now thrown their support behind the ban as co-sponsors of bills. All that is now required is a committee hearing to advance the bill and then a vote in the assembly.

20 of the state’s 40 senators are also backing the ban as co-sponsors meaning that passage through the senate will likely be a straightforward affair.

The new Senate co-sponsors are Linda Greenstein, Nia Gill, Nellie Pou and Anthony Bucco. The new Assembly co-sponsors are James Kennedy, Angela McKnight, Raj Muhjeri, Robert Karabinchak, and Shavonda Sumter and Robert Clifton.

Speaking of the ban last week, Senate President Nicholas Scutari said:

“Do I think people should smoke indoors? I do not. I don’t like smoke. I’ve never been a smoker. But there are economic things, there are other items at work there. We’ve got to work with the industry, work with the advocates. But I think at some point, you’re gonna see something.”

Pete Nacarelli, co-leader of Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects, said in a statement:

“We have made incredible progress since the legislative session began in the winter. We started this fight a year ago — Fourth of July marked one year since poisonous smoking came back to our workplaces — knowing little about politics or the legislative process. Now, we’ve got a majority of legislators in both chambers backing our bill. It’s amazing what we’ve been able to achieve so far, but we will continue fighting — along with our dozens of champions in the legislature — until we get this done. Our health and our lives are on the line.”

Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, added:

“We will keep this issue front-and-center over the summer, and work to make sure it’s a top priority when legislators return to Trenton in September. Especially in light of the new reality that smoke-free casinos are performing better than their smoking counterparts, there’s no reason not to act. We are grateful to be working with so many champions who will help us get this bill across the finish line.”

recent poll by Stockton University found that as many as 62% of those polled are in favor of a smoking ban at casinos.

A vote will not take place until sometime in September meaning that for now, smoking will still be permitted at the city’s casinos.

Danny Tang

Reporter & gambling industry analyst covering the land-based and online casino industry in the United States.

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