Atlantic City casino operators oppose the proposal, raised by New Jersey state legislators, to ban smoking within casinos. The proposal would allow for outdoor smoking areas which employees would have been able to opt out of staffing.
Borgata casino dealer Pete Naccarelli commented: “The so-called opt-out idea only forces workers to risk their health for a paycheck. It is not a solution at all.” He is the de-facto leader of a group opposing the bill and cites the health risks to employees that smoking areas would bring.
Last week some Atlantic City casino dealers indicated they were amenable to the idea, as long as no casino workers were exposed to secondhand smoke. This compromise would mean that they would not even have to pass through smoking areas.
A bill that would ban smoking inside Atlantic City’s nine casinos has sat untouched in the Democrat-controlled legislature since February. An identical bill was killed off in last year’s session, despite Democrat Governor Phil Murphy saying he was willing to sign off on it – if it passes.
As of yet, no legislative committee hearings have been scheduled for this smoking ban bill, although half of the state’s legislature has signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors. The bill would definitively close a loophole in New Jersey’s smoking laws which make casinos virtually the only indoor workplaces where smoking continues to be allowed.
The Casino Association of New Jersey, the trade association for Atlantic City’s casinos, opposes a smoking ban, fearing it would lead to revenue losses. Smoking opponents reject this assertion, pointing to other states where non-smoking casinos are outperforming competitors that allow it.