Pennsylvania May Determine Whether Casinos in Atlantic City Ban Smoking
Last week saw the swearing-in of a new group of New Jersey legislators, and one of their main concerns will be how to handle smoking within the casinos in Atlantic City.
During the lame-duck session in late 2023, a contentious effort to forbid smokers from lighting up on the gaming floors of the nine retail casinos in Atlantic City was abandoned.
Anti-smoking activists believe that 2024 will be the year Trenton finally approves a measure to address the casino loophole due to popular opinion and the support of most state politicians.
Same Smoking Tale at Atlantic City Casinos in the New Year
What then has to happen for New Jersey to outlaw smoking in AC retail casinos entirely?
This is the easiest way: A bill is passed by the State Legislature and then signed into law by the governor.
Companion measures to outlaw smoking were presented by the state Assembly and Senate on the opening day of the new legislative session. The Senate version is back in the health committee, and the head of the committee is one of the main sponsors of the bill.
But the gaming business is unlikely to give up anytime soon. At the end of last year, it demonstrated its strong political power.
Executives in the business have long-standing worries about losing players to neighboring Pennsylvanian casinos that allow smoking, a worry that was evident when New Jersey enacted the Smoke-Free Air Act in 2006. The law outlawed smoking inside all the casinos and a small number of grandfathered establishments across the state.
Involving Pennsylvania is one of the less talked about strategies for passing a smoking ban in Atlantic City.
If the Keystone State also prohibits smoking, several industry sources think that most AC casino owners would be “much less resistant” to the legislation.