February 24, 2022 Casino, Legal, Land Based

Atlantic City smoking ban saga again enflames outrage and passions

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Lupo's comments on the proportionally small area of the casino allowing smoking is construed as mockery by anti-smoking group.

The controversy surrounding the Atlantic City casino smoking ban, or lack thereof, has reared its head again after Joe Lupo, the President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, aroused controversy by saying the advocacy group pushing for a smoking ban was not representative of the mass of workers at the casino. 

The anti-smoking group CEASE took umbrage with these remarks. 

CEASE consists of casino workers in Atlantic City who are protesting – and lobbying Trenton to change – a special dispensation in the state’s ban on indoor smoking which allows the pastime on a fraction of the casino floor.  

The Hard Rock Casino in particular has smoking on 30% of its floor.  

The people of CEASE claim that this is deleterious to their health and that they deserve to make their living in a safe and healthy environment. In a show of strength, CEASE have taken to marching on the boardwalk.  

Lupo, who is also the President of the Casino Association of New Jersey, referenced the marches in a private lunch at the Hard Rock. He was filmed on an attendee’s cell phone. 

Lupo admitted “it’s a tough issue” but then noted – entirely accurately – that the “fact of the matter is that, while we have 30,000 square feet affiliated with smoking, we have 4 million square feet on the property.” 

Most of the casino’s employees, he also noted accurately, do not work in the smoking area.  

This was met by outrage by CEASE, who took the liberty to characterize Lupo’s words as mockery.  

One of the Co-Founders of the group, Pete Naccarelli, commented: “Joe Lupo should not be mocking casino employees who simply want a safe workplace. Whether it’s 30 workers or the thousands who have joined CEASE, we deserve respect and a voice in our own health and safety.” 

Naccarelli finished definitively: “He [Lupo] is on the wrong side of history.” 

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