Missouri’s St. Louis County to consider indoor smoking ban for its casinos

May 3, 2023
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The county currently has an indoor smoking ban in place that exempts casinos.

Missouri has joined a small number of US states addressing the question of whether smoking should be permitted within its casinos, according to a local report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A measure is currently on the table in St. Louis County to ban smoking within casinos. Should the ban pass the County Council, St. Louis County would become the first in Missouri to implement a casino smoking ban, according to the local report.

Up until now, casinos have been excluded from the current indoor smoking ban that has been in effect countywide since 2011.

However, St. Louis County Health Department Director Dr. Kanika Cunningham pointed out the potential health risks to casino guests and said the exception “poses a serious health threat to customers and employers.”

Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights Vice President and General Manager Michael Jerlecki voiced his concerns regarding a smoking ban by addressing council members during a recent meeting. He said imposing a smoking ban in Louis County casino could potentially harm the local economy.

Jerlecki said: “A total smoking ban that only applies to casinos in St. Louis County would place us at a considerable competitive disadvantage to nearby casinos in Missouri, risk hundreds of good-paying jobs, and substantially impact the tax revenue and significant economic activity our properties generate.”

States like New Jersey have revisited possible casino-wide smoking bans after temporary bans during the Covid-19 pandemic were lifted in July 2021.

Since the ban was lifted, Atlantic City casino workers have pushed for permanent legislation that would prohibit smoking in casinos statewide.

However, similar laws taking hold in Nevada are less likely, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

For the past three decades, independent casino operators throughout the state have set their own policies regarding smoking in their establishments. Several have opted to designate smoking areas within casino spaces and outdoor locations where smoking is permitted.

Other states besides Nevada have implemented outdoor facilities that allow smoking, including Maryland and Ohio.


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