Smokefree Casino Advocates Mark Victory for Gaming Employees, Guests in Shreveport
Despite Push to Repeal Smokefree Ordinance, Shreveport Casinos Will Be Smokefree Starting August 1st
July 14, 2021
Berkeley, CA – After the Shreveport City Council yesterday decided against repealing its smokefree ordinance that will now take effect on August 1st, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights President and CEO Cynthia Hallett released the following statement:
"We applaud Shreveport for putting the health and well-being of casino employees and guests ahead of the fear tactics deployed once again by the gaming industry. As a result of this ordinance taking effect next month, a majority Black and Brown and women workforce will be protected from the well-established harms of even brief exposure to secondhand smoke.
"As we've seen in New Orleans and countless other gaming markets, smokefree policies do not stop gaming operators from reinvesting in their properties and communities. It's time for elected leaders and casino operators across the country to follow Shreveport's lead and finally go permanently smokefree indoors. In the year 2021, it's a commonsense policy that most Americans are shocked to learn hasn't happened yet."
In a notable exchange during a recent City Council debate on the issue, Shreveport City Councilman John Nickelson grilled a Boyd Gaming executive and highlighted the disparities between the work environments of frontline casino floor employees and executives in their offices:
Councilman Nickelson: "Do you smoke in your office at work?"
Ron Bailey: "No, sir."
Councilman Nickelson: "Do you let other people do that?"
Ron Bailey: "No, sir."
Councilman Nickelson: "Don't your workers deserve the same?"
Ron Bailey: "I think our workers deserve to make a choice. I'm not a medical professional."
While the gaming industry deploys sky-is-falling scare tactics, such fears routinely fail to materialize. In December, despite the economic challenges wrought by the pandemic, Caesars Entertainment announced a $325 million upgrade to add a new hotel tower and other amenities at its New Orleans property, which comes on the heels of the company adding a music venue in 2019. Further, Caesars recently landed the naming rights to the New Orleans Saints stadium, for which it will pay $200 million.
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/.