Smokefree Advocates Respond to New Jersey Casino Executive's Disregard for Employee Health

Casinos should consider more than revenue from a few slot machines when setting smoking policies

April 6, 2021


Berkeley, CA — In a recorded virtual event yesterday, Hard Rock Atlantic City President Joe Lupo defended indoor smoking at casinos by saying that “there’s no hiding [that] slot machines that have smoking usually have a higher win-per-unit and usually make more money. That’s all there is to it.”

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights President and CEO Cynthia Hallett responded:

“Casinos often talk about valuing their employees, but requiring them to work in environments with secondhand smoke shows a complete disregard for their well-being. We urge casino executives to consider more than the revenue from a few slot machines when setting their smoking policy once the pandemic is behind us. They should also factor in the cost savings of having a healthy workforce and the ability to attract customers who prefer a smokefree environment. Smokefree is good for business, especially as Americans are more cognizant of the air they breathe due to COVID-19.

“Casinos are learning to do business differently, including shifting smoking to outdoor areas so staff and guests can return safely. We urge casinos to adopt permanent smokefree indoor policies that will protect guests and workers and help modernize the gaming industry.”

Watch Lupo’s full comments here, at 41:35.

More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree. At least 160 sovereign Tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smokefree policies during COVID-19, 23 states require commercial casinos to be smokefree indoors, and nearly 1,100 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors. Opinion research routinely, and increasingly, shows the vast majority of guests prefer smokefree indoor casinos. That’s not surprising considering that among young adults, 90 percent are nonsmokers.

Last month, the CDC singled out smokefree indoor casino policies as a “public health win,” the impact of which is “immeasurable in terms of not only protecting the public who attend these venues, but also workers who are working eight hours or more per day in these environments.”

ANR and BCSlots last week released a new sample player survey tool that will help casinos better understand their customers’ expectations on smokefree environments.

Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar law. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit and