Advocates Applaud Parx for Committing to Operating a 2nd Smokefree Casino
Parx Casino is Voluntarily Protecting Its Employees and Guests While Business Thrives
Parx Executive: “We Found Our Customers Actually Prefer a Non-Smoking Environment, So We Plan to Do the Same Thing in Shippensburg"
January 20, 2022
Berkeley, CA – Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, released the following statement after Parx Casino's parent company, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, announced it would operate a second gaming property without smoking indoors. Parx Casino in Bensalem has been operating smokefree since last summer -- and growing its marketshare.
"For months, Greenwood Gaming has been at the forefront of offering a smokefree gaming experience that the majority of guests prefer, while also protecting the health of their employees and patrons. Few in the gaming industry make this decision voluntarily, but Parx has shown that doing the right thing is also good for business. We applaud Parx for recognizing that while change is hard in the gaming industry, operators that avoid scare tactics and look at the facts will be rewarded."
During a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting yesterday, Greenwood Gaming Chief Operating Office John Dixon "said the venue would have no indoor smoking, just like the anchor Parx property located 150 miles away in Bucks County. Parx has made that decision voluntarily, going against the grain of other Pennsylvania casinos that permit smoking on up to half the gaming floor, as permitted by law. “We found our customers actually prefer a non-smoking environment, so we plan to do the same thing in Shippensburg.'"
CDC Gaming Reports has highlighted how Pennsylvania casinos with smokefree indoor policies are seeing record high revenue-- already surpassing figures reported in 2019. “The experiences of Parx and Mt. Airy contravene the conventional argument that a casino smoking ban significantly reduces revenue as well as local and state tax payments. Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board figures show that both Parx and Mt. Airy have earned more in the first nine months of this year than they did in 2019, when the state set a record high for gaming revenue.“
According to Parx’s chief marketing officer: “Since smoking was allowed to return to (Pennsylvania casinos) in June, we have continued to be an indoor non-smoking facility. We’ve done it for the health and comfort of both our guests and team members. We have received significant positive feedback from both constituencies. And (we) have continued our strong performance and gains of market share in the region.”
American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller has said that casinos that have gone smokefree have done so "without detrimental effect" and that the decision "hasn't led to a decrease in business."
More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree, including Park MGM on the Las Vegas strip. At least 150 sovereign Tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smokefree policies during COVID-19, nearly half of all states require commercial casinos to be smokefree indoors, and nearly 1,100 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors. Earlier this month, Navajo Nation adopted legislation to make its four casinos permanently smokefree indoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in March that smokefree casino policies implemented over the last year have been a “silver lining” of the pandemic.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS' RIGHTS
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 laws. 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 https://no-smoke.org and https://smokefreecasinos.org.