January 18, 2023
Smokefree Advocates Respond to All-Time High Atlantic City Casino Revenue
“Imagine How Much More Revenue Casinos Would Have Generated” Without Indoor Smoking Keeping Guests from Walking Through Their Doors
Atlantic City, NJ– Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, released the following statement responding to Atlantic City posting 2022 revenue figures that match the all-time high for the market:
“Imagine how much more revenue the casinos would have generated if the awful stench of dangerous secondhand smoke didn’t keep a meaningful number of guests from walking through their doors. We know from real-world examples that, in the wake of the pandemic, smokefree casinos perform better than casinos that continue this outdated business practice.
“For months and years, Atlantic City casino executives have fought to keep their employees breathing secondhand smoke for one reason or another, such as the fact that in-person visitation was down. Now we know this is no longer the case. In-person visitation has recovered to pre-pandemic levels. So what’s the excuse now for the casinos? This revenue report should give legislators yet another green light to advance bipartisan bills that more than half of all senators and assembly members are co-sponsoring to close the casino smoking loophole.”
Legislation to eliminate the casino smoking loophole has earned more cosponsors than most other bills this legislative session in Trenton. It has been over 550 days since smoking returned to Atlantic City casinos and legislation to get rid of smoking is now cosponsored by 51 state assembly members and 23 state senators– a bipartisan majority in both chambers.
S264 and A2151 are identical bills that “[e]liminates [the] smoking ban exemption for casinos and simulcasting facilities.”
Governor Phil Murphy has repeatedly affirmed that he’d sign the legislation, most recently saying, “At the end of the day, we will still get good business. Atlantic City is an American gem. We’ve got the ocean and the other competitors don’t. And this is the right thing for our respective health.”
A report by Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming found that casinos without indoor smoking outperform their smoking counterparts and that Atlantic City would not lose gamblers to the handful of remaining eastern Pennsylvania casinos that allow indoor smoking. The United Auto Workers (UAW), the union representing Atlantic City casino dealers, is urging legislative leaders to advance bills to close the smoking loophole. UFCW Local 152, which represents 16,000 retail, manufacturing, and healthcare workers in South Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware, also supports eliminating the casino smoking loophole.
The leading organization dealing with gambling addiction has warned legislators that continuing to allow indoor smoking at Atlantic City casinos will only continue to encourage gambling addiction, but that passing bipartisan bills, S264 and A2151, to close the casino smoking loophole would help to address this concern.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
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/.