Atlantic City Employees Still Fighting for Smoke-Free Environment

Atlantic City Casinos

Employees of casinos in Atlantic City are still trying to get lawmakers and regulators to do something about smoking in the workplace.

For many years, most areas of the United States have been smoke-free. Restaurants, amusement parks, even outdoor parks have made the switch to no smoking or have designated spots for smoking. As people became more health conscious and awareness of smoking began to reach people in every state, changes were made. However, for the casino industry, smoking still remains in place. While some major operators now limit smoking, for the most part, it is still taking place on gaming floors and employees want to see a change. Workers within the gambling industry of Atlantic City, New Jersey recently marched to spread awareness to smoking in the casinos and how it needs to be stopped.

Stop Allowing Smoking

There are nine casinos in Atlantic City and each one allows smoking to take place. Employees marched in the gambling town earlier this week to bring awareness to how the act is harmful to them as well as other patrons.

Back in 2006, the Smoke-Free Act was created in New Jersey. It banned smoking inside most businesses and public places. However, the law left out Atlantic City casinos. The venues were allowed to maintain 25% of the gaming floor to smokers.

Casino employees feel that this loophole needs to be closed. Employees want to see legal change so they can feel more at ease when it comes to their health in the workplace. Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects (CEASE) were behind the recent protest and the group hosted a press conference as well.

The group asked that Governor Phil Murphy do something about the smoking issue. They want to see a bill created by lawmakers that bans indoor smoking fully, except for inside individual’s homes. A dealer from Atlantic City, Lamont White, was on hand during the protest and spoke out against smoking. He asked that the leaders of the state help provide humane treatment for employees as they serve and cater to the millions of employees that the gambling industry sees each year.

The march took place during the East Coast Gaming Congress in an attempt to reach a wider audience.

Governor Murphy’s Pitch

During the Congress, Governor Murphy was on hand to deliver the keynote speech. He showed support for the effort to stop casino smoking from taking place. It seems Murphy is open to signing legislation banning smoking inside casinos, but he would need to be sent legislation to do so.

In September, Murphy said that he would sign a measure to stop smoking but he cannot just stop the activity from happening. He needs legislature to act. Members of the CEASE group say that Murphy is to blame for allowing the temporary ban on smoking during COVID-19 and then allowed the ban to expire. The group feels like if the ban could be put in place due to COVID then it could be put in place permanently as well.

Those in favor of anti-smoking in Atlantic City are backing Senate Bill 1878. The measure was introduced in February 2020 and has yet to gain must ground within legislature. One problem is the Casino Association in the state. The group says that a casino-wide smoking ban would be harmful to their operations.

The group says that it is not the time to implement such as ban as the casinos are still struggling to try and come back from the pandemic closures and lower earnings that took place during the time period when stricter regulations were in place.

Employees feel that their health should have more importance than the bottom line of the casinos.

Associate Writer: Suzie has extensive experience writing on a number of different topics, but writing on slots remains her first love, and it really shows.