Announced this week, land-based casinos in Cherokee and Murphy will officially ban smoking. This makes the smoke-free policy put in place by the Tribe in response to the Covid-19 pandemic official law.
This news follows a vote conducted by the Tribal Council on December 9, 2021. The vote, which ended in an 8-4 majority in favor of the smoking ban, reflects the increasing anti-smoking attitude growing the American land-based gaming industry.
“This is our public health laws, which is in ordinance, which is within your realm, so this is your decision,” commented tribal member Lavita Hill, who was an eager proponent of the smoking ban.
“What we’re asking you to do, what casino employees are asking you to do, is to make a law ensuring that their workplace remains healthy and remains smoke-free. It’s a national thing that people are paying attention to — you can’t smoke in restaurants anymore, airplanes, none of that. Smoking is an addition. It’s an option and it’s a killer.”
While the decision has undoubtedly been a popular one, there is some concern that Harrah's casinos could see a loss in customers as a result.
Harrah’s General Manager Brooks Robinson expressed worry: “I do get concerned about competition, I do get concerned about if we put something in such a way that it would restrict us to make changes if we had to, based on competition that we know is coming close to us.
“Also, I would hope that we might be able to put something in place that might allow some of the actual gaming devices in an environment that would allow smoking.”
These concerns have been addressed as plans for “smoking only” areas are in motion.