The highly anticipated new MGM Springfield casino entertainment complex opened August 24th to massive crowds and great fanfare.
A notable milestone to celebrate is the smokefree air: MGM Springfield is a smokefree indoor air casino, part of a growing trend.
Thanks to Massachusetts’ statewide smokefree workplace law which took effect in 2004, the 3,000+ workers in this sprawling new complex can work and breathe without losing their health to secondhand smoke. The smokefree law also protects the health of the thousands of people who will visit this venue every day for meetings and entertainment.
Without the life-saving smokefree law, this casino would have opened as smoking indoors.
For the casino industry, MGM Springfield is a good example of taking a thoughtful approach to design and making smokefree indoor air a non-issue. The result is an incredible venue that is welcoming to the non-smoking majority while also still having convenient comfortable outdoor smoking areas for those who want to light up.
Outdoor smoking areas are located off the gaming floor. This property takes more of a deconstructed approach to the smoking areas – fire pits, unenclosed terraces, etc. – making them convenient, comfortable, and at a distance from doorways to help prevent smoke from wafting indoors.
In addition to a bustling gaming floor, MGM Springfield is part of the larger casino industry trend toward more (smokefree) non-gaming activities that appeal to multiple generations and tastes. Offerings include meeting facilities, bowling center, movie theater, live music venues, restaurants, and much more.
In today’s casinos, people don’t just sit at a slot machine. People get up from their game to do other non-gaming activities too, but that doesn’t mean they are leaving. Smokefree indoor air is now the expectation and brand experience for more gaming customers across more markets, including the thousands of new customers signing up on opening day in Springfield for MLife, MGM’s players reward program.
MGM Springfield is also notable because it is a flagship destination property that will attract visitors from around the world. The fact that it is also successfully 100% smokefree indoors affirms how much the smokefree issue has evolved with the gaming industry in recent years.
Today, 20 states require smokefree air in all state-regulated gaming venues such as casinos and video gaming in bars. Also, numerous cities and sovereign tribes have also adopted smokefree law that include gaming venues. Casino operators are investing in smokefree markets and want those investments to succeed.
Similar to how the smokefree policy trend spread in restaurants, bars, and hotels, smokefree gaming is a growing trend whose time has come—both in public support and for the health of the workers. Casinos can and should be smokefree indoors just like any other workplace.
MGM Springfield is one of more than 800 smokefree gaming venues in the U.S. We encourage casino operators, policymakers, and the public to help support the transition to smokefree indoor air policies across more gaming markets—without further delay—for the health of workers and public and to be done with the issue.
MGM Resorts has other smokefree gaming properties including MGM National Harbor in Maryland and its new acquisitions: Hard Rock Rocksino in Ohio, and Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway in New York. Today 87.1% of U.S. adults are nonsmokers. Casino ventilation systems and smoking lounges do not address the deadly health hazards of secondhand smoke.
For the health of people working in the gaming industry, and for the health of communities where these venues operate, the smokefree change can’t come too soon.