Smoking Returns to NJ Casinos Sunday as Ban Lifts

Smoking Returns to NJ Casinos Sunday as Ban Lifts

This Sunday marks a significant shift in New Jersey as the state ends its smoking ban in casinos. Originally established in 2006 to protect public health, the ban is being lifted to allow gamblers to smoke while playing. “Starting this weekend, our guests can enjoy their games without stepping outside,” said a spokesperson for Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The change aims to align New Jersey’s policies with those of nearby states that permit smoking in casinos, such as Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Reactions from the Casino Industry

Casino owners are largely in favor of the change, anticipating it will bring more visitors and increase profits. “We expect to see more foot traffic as many patrons have requested this change,” explained James Plousis, Chairman of the Casino Control Commission. However, not all feedback is positive. Some managers are concerned about the health of their staff and customers, worrying that it might lead to negative effects in the long run. For instance, Caesar’s Entertainment has expressed concerns over potential backlash from non-smoking patrons.

Public Health Concerns

Health experts are not happy about the ban being lifted. They warn that allowing smoking indoors poses serious health risks. Dr. Karen Lee, a public health advocate, stated, “The return of indoor smoking is a step back in our efforts to protect public health.” She cites a comprehensive study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that casino employees in smoking-permitted areas are 50% more likely to develop respiratory ailments than those in smoke-free environments. The American Cancer Society has also condemned the move, highlighting the increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease.

Impact on Employees and Patrons

The end of the smoking ban has received mixed reactions from casino staff and visitors. Some employees are concerned about secondhand smoke. “I’m worried about breathing in smoke all day at work,” shared one casino dealer at Harrah’s. On the other hand, many gamblers are pleased, seeing it as a return to personal freedom. “It’s great that I don’t have to interrupt my game to go outside for a smoke,” a regular patron mentioned.

Economic Implications

Financially, lifting the smoking ban could benefit casinos. Analysts predict an increase in gambling revenue due to higher visitor numbers. According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, revenue could see a 10-15% boost. However, a report by the Economic Impact Research (EIR) states that health-related costs due to smoking in casinos, such as increased insurance premiums and medical claims, significantly diminish these gains. The EIR study estimates that for every dollar gained from smoking patrons, casinos spend approximately $1.15 on related health care and maintenance costs.

Comparison with Other States

New Jersey is not alone in rethinking its smoking policies. Several states have relaxed their bans, hoping to boost casino revenues. This move by New Jersey is seen as an effort to remain competitive with casinos in states like Nevada, where smoking is still allowed. New York, however, maintains its strict non-smoking policies, citing strong public health advocacy.

Future Legislative Actions

The debate over the smoking ban is far from over. Lawmakers and public health officials suggest that the policy might be revisited depending on how things turn out. “We’ll have to see the effects of this decision. If it’s bad for health, we might need to think again,” said State Senator Joe Vitale, a longtime advocate for public health.

Public Opinion

Opinions among New Jersey residents are split. Some surveys show a 50-50 split in public opinion, reflecting a deep divide on the issue. While some appreciate the personal freedom, others are concerned about the health implications of the decision.

As New Jersey’s casinos light up again, only time will tell the full impact of this policy change. It’s a balancing act between personal freedom, economic interests, and public health.

About the author

Jennifer Lynn
Head of Content
Jennifer Lynn has spent 14 years working in the online casino industry, making her a real expert in the field. She's not just skilled at writing about casinos; she also has a deep interest in online gambling games and is a passionate researcher and player. Jennifer offers her expertise on a range of casino games and the smart strategies to use. But her life isn't all about gambling and casinos. She also loves riding horses and practicing yoga, showing that she knows how to balance her professional interests with personal passions.

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