Hope as deferred ban on smoking looks set to benefit local casino industry
American smokers in Atlantic City will be able to light up in casinos for another year, as a city-wide ban on smoking in indoor areas, including local casinos, was suspended. It was set to be the first major casino market in America to go smoke-free.
All of the major casinos in the area had enforced the ban until it was overturned by the city council after just twelve days of operation. The news of the delay has caused friction between the smoking and non-smoking casino players.
Atlantic City’s reputation as a casino city brings in over a thousand visitors per day but many local casinos feared the ban would see smoking players visit casinos in cities where smoking is allowed, or choose to stay at home and play games over the internet in online casinos.
While some casino dealers had praised the ban, stating they felt casinos would be "healthier for it", casino players were less receptive of the move. One said: "I have a feeling they're going to lose even more business. I'm not coming back here if there's no smoking."
Local casinos were hoping to prevent the loss of customers to other cities and online casinos with a year-long delay on the smoking ban. Casinos owners said that in light of the economic crisis in the country, a delay of the ban for one year would ensure casinos survived the economic downfall.
Bod McDevitt, president of the city’s casino workers union, Unite-Here Local 54, had said a smoking ban would have had negative repercussions for the local casino industry.
He said: "Smoking is not healthy. Smoking kills people. So does job loss, unemployment and the threat of foreclosure. People will lose their ability to feed their families."