Smoking Ban Inside Casinos Could Become Permanent in Some US States
As the pandemic swept across the United States a few years ago, casinos took the drastic measure of temporarily banning smoking indoors. However, in the aftermath, some states decided to make the ban permanent, while others only saw it as a temporary restriction. Recent reports and data from casinos seem to suggest that the fears of decreased visitation and gaming revenues due to the indoor smoking ban may have been unfounded.
Currently, nearly a dozen US states still allow smoking inside casinos. In Kansas, a new proposal has been introduced to close the existing loophole that permits smoking inside casinos. The proposal, known as House Bill 2622 (HB 2622), was put forward by Representatives Owen Donohoe, David Buehler, Sydney Carlin, Ford Carr, and Dennis Highberger, and has been referred to the House’s Committee on Health and Human Services for a hearing scheduled for next week Wednesday, February 7, 2024.
The proposal has garnered support from the group of casino workers known as Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) Kansas. The founder of CEASE Kansas, Joe Hafley, who is also a security employee at Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, emphasized the long-term efforts of casino workers to eliminate indoor smoking. Hafley stated that for too long, casino workers have had to endure hazardous conditions of secondhand smoke in the name of a paycheck, and that the bill is a beacon of hope for the hardworking people in the industry, signaling that their health and well-being matter.
In New Jersey, where smoking inside casinos is still allowed, a smoking ban is also being considered, with a proposal to eliminate smoking inside casinos gaining approval from the New Jersey Senate Health Committee. However, the bill still has a long way to go before it becomes a reality.
Overall, the discussions and proposals surrounding indoor smoking in casinos indicate a shift in attitudes towards the health and well-being of casino workers and patrons. It remains to be seen how these proposals will progress and what impact they will have on the casino industry in the US.