Rhode Island Lawmaker Introduces Legislation to Ban Smoking at Casinos

A legal loophole currently allows patron to light up

by - Thursday, May 26th, 2022 3:32

No smoking sign

Rhode Island Representative Teresa Tanzi is sponsoring a bill that will place an outright ban on smoking in the state’s casinos.
Customers can currently light up thanks to a legal loophole that allows smoking in casinos

Tanzi and anti-smoking campaigners want to close a legal loophole that allows patrons at casinos to light up despite there being a statewide ban on smoking in the workplace. A similar loophole exists in New Jersey where campaigners are also looking to remove the exemption from the smoking ban for casinos.

Bill 2022-H 7855 “would repeal the exemption granted to pari-mutuel facilities and casinos from the smoke-free workplace requirement contained in the Public Health and Workplace Safety Act.”

Speaking of the bill, Tanzi said:

“Casino workers are Rhode Islanders, parents, caregivers, taxpayers and human beings, and they deserve the same protections as everyone else in our state.

It is fundamentally wrong to say that no one should be exposed to second-hand smoke in the workplace, but carve out an exception that leaves one group of workers not only unprotected, but in fact, bathed in smoke every day.”

At present, Rhode Island casinos are required to have separate non-smoking areas that are ventilated by individual systems. However, campaigners say that while this protects the customer, it has little effect on the casino workers who have no choice but to work in a smoke-filled environment.

Tanzi added:

“There’s no excuse for continuing to endanger their health, and we need to pass this bill to let them breathe safely like everyone else.”

The bill has backing from the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 271, which represents the majority of Rhode Island casino employees.

Daniel Hunter

iGaming veteran & data analyst covering the world of land-based and online gambling in the United States.

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