Anti-Smoking Groups Attend Global Gaming Expo
Advocates of a smoke-free casino environment attended the recent Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, discussing how changes need to be made.
In the United States, Nevada is on a short list of individual states that are allowed to offer commercial casinos with smoking. Players can visit the casino floor and smoke as they like, but anti-smoking groups want to see this change. For years now, advocates of non-smoking in casinos have pushed for legal changes but nothing has happened. After the onset of COVID-19, casinos did away with smoking for a bit in order to slow the spread of the virus. Since casinos went without smoking for a short period of time, advocates of non-smoking feel that since venues did without for so long, there should be a permanent ban in place.
In Nevada, industry insiders recently met in Las Vegas to attend the Global Gaming Expo. The trade show was back in action this year and anti-smoking groups were on hand to spread their message. Americans for Nonsmokers Rights (ANR) held a press conference during the event to speak out against smoking in casinos.
Dealers Speak Out
Members of the group include casino dealers, like Nicole Vitola, of the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Nicole pointed out that visitors are allowed to sit down at the table games and smoke. A dealer cannot walk away or turn around, or wave smoke out of their face without facing some type of disciplinary action from the venue.
The table game dealer pointed out further that many casinos in the United States have decided to go smoke-free since the pandemic began. However, there are still far too many that hold profits over health, even when the gaming venues have been able to operate without smoking this past year.
The ANR and other groups are pushing for a change in smoking at casinos across the nation. Rallies have been hosted in areas like Atlantic City in order to get the message across. In the Garden State, there is reportedly a loophole that allows casinos to provide smoking based on a clear-air legislation.
During the recent event in Las Vegas, the ANR pointed out that casino workers have contracted serious diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer by working in an environment where smoking is present. These individuals say they have never used tobacco products.
The ANR and other groups that are advocating for a smoke-free environment also have the support of local unions. The Culinary Union did not attend the meeting of the ANR during the conference, but they are in support of the effort. The Culinary Union is the largest workers trade union in Las Vegas, and it would like to see the gaming floors remove smoking from the premises.
A statement was provided by the Union to NBC News 3 Las Vegas, where the group said that it is long overdue for a smoke-free casino in Las Vegas and the union is supportive of the effort. ANR went a step further and said that the Global Gaming Expo has kept worker health out of the equation when discussing the industry.
The event features numerous areas of the industry but does not offer any insight or discussion on employee health. It was pointed out by the ANR that there is no programming during G2E that focuses on worker safety and health.
ANR President Cynthia Hallett commented that the group does not expect to hear much from the industry when it comes to the unreasonable choice that too many employees must make each day between their health and a paycheck.
It will be interesting to see if anything is said within the industry about the ANR’s appearance at G2E. Will there eventually be change when it comes to smoking at US casinos?