Widespread Coverage of Rally Shows Casino Workers’ “Growing Political Muscle”

April 13, 2022

ATLANTIC CITY— More than 250 Atlantic City casino workers gathered for a rally yesterday marking the 16th anniversary of the statewide smokefree air bill that created the casino loophole in the first place. The rally comes amid a surge of bipartisan support from legislators, with 43 cosponsors signed onto A2151 and S264, bills that would eliminate the loophole and make Atlantic City casinos smokefree indoors.

Below is an overview of the scene from yesterday and the clear message from AC employees: Treat us like any other worker in New Jersey — close the casino loophole.

Press of Atlantic City: FRONT PAGE: Ban Within Reach

NBC Philadelphia: Atlantic City Casino Workers Hold Rally in Support of Smoking Ban
“I think the casinos are way over estimating the impact that this would have. We have seen this happen now many times in many states and the impact is very minimal,” said Roger Gros of Global Gaming Business Magazine.

CBS Philadelphia: Some Workers Want Atlantic City Casino Smoking Ban

Telemundo Philadelphia: Choque de sectores por la prohibición de fumar en los casinos

Fox Philadelphia: Rally Against Smoking in AC Casinos

AP: Atlantic City Casino Workers Feel Smoking Ban Is In Reach
About 250 casino workers gathered in a park near the ocean Tuesday to call on lawmakers to pass a bill that would end the casinos’ exemption from the indoor smoking law. They say they have endured years of breathing in second-hand smoke, watching colleagues die and becoming sick themselves. “Sixteen years ago the state of New Jersey left us behind in the smoke,” said Lamont White, a dealer at the Borgata casino. “We are not numbers; we are people.”

NJ Online Gambling: Atlantic City Casino Smoking Ban Supporters Rally For Their Cause
Leaders of the effort turned up in Atlantic City on Tuesday to flex their growing political muscle, with more than 250 workers employed by the city’s nine casinos appearing at a rally at McClinton Waterfront Park.

Casino.org: Atlantic City Casino Workers Call on NJ Lawmakers to Extinguish Indoor Smoking
In recognition of the 16-year anniversary of the bill that banned indoor smoking in nearly all other indoor public places, CEASE sought to bring awareness that casino employees continue to be subjected to working in businesses where known carcinogens freely permeate the air.

Politico: Polistina: ‘I would hope’ Atlantic City’s casinos are smoke-free within the year
Atlantic City’s state senator is hoping the city’s nine casinos will be smoke-free within the year. State Sen. Vince Polistina (R-Atlantic) told POLITICO Tuesday that he was eyeing the end of casino’s indoor smoking carveout sometime this year. Casinos currently allow smoking in some sections of the casino floor.

Casinos are the only workplaces in New Jersey where the state allows indoor smoking, forcing casino frontline workers to choose between their health and a paycheck. Companion bills introduced in the state legislature have received an unusually high number of cosponsors with 28 cosponsors in the Assembly and 15 in the Senate – including a majority of members of both the Senate and Assembly Health Committees. Governor Murphy has repeatedly said he’d sign this legislation. A report just released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement showed that Atlantic City casinos are thriving, as earnings in 2021 surpassed where they were even before the pandemic, beating out 2019 earnings by over $172 million.

Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.