New Jersey Casino Employees Urge Governor to Push Smoking Ban

01/15/2023
News
Online Casino New Jersey

Highlights

  • Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects press lawmakers for a smoking ban.
  • The group wants smoking banned by April 15.
  • The goal is to eliminate a loophole that allows smoking at casino venues.

On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy looked forward to his State of the State address while lobbyists for a smoking ban in the state pushed for action. Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) released a video just before the address by Murphy to call for legislators to pass a smoking ban.

The group wants the ban in place by April 15, which is the date of the 17th anniversary of the smoke-free law in New Jersey. The law bans smoking within workplaces and indoor public areas. The ban was expanded over the years to include parks and beaches, but casinos remain immune.

A loophole within the Smoke-Free Air Act allows casinos to offer smoking within their premises. Legislation is currently under consideration that would remove the loophole and ban smoking for good.

The Bill Continues to Stall within Legislature

Employees have been calling for changes for a while, wanting the work environment to be smoke-free. CEASE says that employees deserve to work in an environment that is smoke-free and not a danger to one’s health.

Those who work in casinos, particularly dealers and servers, are exposed to secondhand smoke regularly. Such exposure can have adverse effects, including major health issues over time. Depending on exposure, employees could be subject to respiratory issues or cancer.

Bipartisan legislation in the state currently has over 70 sponsors spread throughout the Senate and Assembly. The legislation was introduced last year and has yet to come up for a committee vote. In the past, Governor Murphy said he would support a smoking ban in Atlantic City, stating that casino games would continue to thrive.

While the Governor seems to be supportive, he is not pushing companies to make changes or legislators to move on the pending bill.

Casinos Claim Revenue Losses Will Spike with Smoking Ban

For casino operators, providers feel that losing the right to offer smoking will affect their bottom line. For months now, casinos have stated that revenues will dip considerably if smoking is not allowed. They say it would also cause job losses, something the locals cannot afford.

It is important to note that once the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing within the United States and casinos had reopened, smoking was not allowed. This includes New Jersey venues. The casinos could still see traffic, and the smoking ban did not seem to be a big deal. It is especially important to consider that this was an unsafe time in the US when the virus rapidly spread. Players were still willing to come to casinos, smoking or not.

Proponents of the smoking ban point this out and reiterate the fact that casinos were able to remain in business during COVID-19 highs and still see visitors despite not smoking. This fact does not seem to be enough to appease casino operators.

Unite Here Local 54, the local casino and hotel employees union in New Jersey saw its president recently commit on the matter. President Bob McDevitt spoke to local news outlets stating that New Jersey needs to wait until neighboring Pennsylvania bans smoking in casinos before the state moves forward.

For now, the issue seems to be somewhat tabled. It is unclear what steps CEASE will try to take next if its outreach to the Governor is not fruitful. Casino employees are hopeful that legislators will move the legislation to committee and vote on it to see if the measure can move forward.

It will be interesting to see in the coming days if the legislation makes any movement or if the smoking issue will continue to be a problem in the state.

Having started in 2005 as an online writer, Sadonna has focused on the online gambling industry, with a keen knowledge of various subjects. Sadonna has followed the growing US-based gambling industry for decades, covering all the legal changes in the nation as well as information on land-based and online casinos. She enjoys updating fellow gamblers on new games, casino bonuses, and additional information for premium gaming services. In her spare time, Sadonna loves spending time with her family and singing on Smule. Sadonna hopes to continue working in the online gambling industry and building quality articles for players to learn more about the US market.