Advocates Applaud Pennsylvania Bill to Get Rid of Smoking in Casinos
Casino Workers Should Not Have to Choose Between Their Health and a Paycheck
March 16, 2022
Pittsburgh, PA – Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, released the following statement after legislation was introduced by Pennsylvania legislators today to make casinos in the Commonwealth smokefree and protect casino workers and guests from deadly secondhand smoke.
“We applaud Senator Costa and Rep. Frankel for prioritizing the health of casino workers who deserve to the same protections from deadly secondhand smoke as nearly every other worker in the Commonwealth. Getting rid of smoking in casinos is a win-win for workers and the industry, as we’ve seen several Pennsylvania casinos thrive while operating without indoor smoking — a commonsense decision supported by the majority of residents.”
CDC Gaming Reports has highlighted how Pennsylvania casinos with smokefree indoor policies are seeing record revenues. “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  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. Last year, 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/.