Smoke-free casinos? Smoking indoors has been a hot topic lately, as hundreds of casinos across the country have reopened their doors with a smoke-free policy in place for now.
For decades, we have known that cigarette smoking is very detrimental to our health and the health of the people around us. Even so, it seems the casino industry has been trying to fight this smoke-free way of life for a while.
However, those days just might be over. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, more and more places are implementing permanent no-smoking policies inside.
Since the pandemic, it’s hard to debate the fact that smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are risk factors that make the population more susceptible to more severe COVID-19 symptoms. Since the world is ready to move past the year of the COVID-19 and open back up to regular business, the only logical thing was to implement no-smoking policies indoors.
Will Smoking Bans Cause Casinos To Lose Revenue?
Will smoking bans cause casinos to lose revenue? That is the big question, and it seems as though the casino industry is willing to find out if smoking bans will affect its bottom line or not.
This is partly because casinos have a real fear that a permanent smoke ban will be detrimental to the industry.
“Banning smoking permanently would have long-term financial implications for the industry and the region,” the Casino Association of New Jersey said in an issued statement. “Going completely nonsmoking would place Atlantic City casinos at a competitive disadvantage with other nearby casinos that allow smoking.”
In 2008, Atlantic City issued a trial-basis no-smoking policy that lasted three weeks. It was reported that several casinos said they saw double-digit declines in revenue during that time, and one hotel and casino stated that it lost $2 million within those three weeks because of the smoking ban.
Are Casinos Putting Profit Over Our Health?
However, there are always two sides to one story. As Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy, stated that Atlantic City casinos still increased their revenue that month despite the ban.
“And that was when the stock market tanked from the mortgage-backed security market crash,” Blumenfeld said.
Also, research has shown that around 70% of casino-goers said that they were bothered by cigarette smoke and 95% acknowledged that it was a health hazard. The survey even showed that even smokers were supportive of the ban, and 88% of the surveyed people responded that they would instead visit non-smoking casinos rather than going and gambling where smoking is permitted.
Post-COVID-19 patrons are no longer allowed to partake in a cigar or cigarette while inside the casinos. Whether that will continue to be the same or things will go back to normal, only time will tell.
It does appear that change is on the horizon, however, and casinos will have to learn how to conduct business in new ways.
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