Maryland Casinos See High Revenues Despite No Smoking
Casinos in Maryland are booming when it comes to revenues, even though the state is not allowing visitors to smoke within the venues.
For decades, the casino industry in the United States has included smoking. Visitors know that if they travel to a casino, it is more than likely going to allow smoking inside the venue. Casinos advocate for smoking, fearful that if the option is removed completely, revenue would suffer. However, in Maryland, the state has never allowed smoking in casinos and the venues are thriving now, post-pandemic. Advocates for no smoking in casinos such as those in Atlantic City are using the figures from recent Maryland venues earnings to showcase that gambling can thrive without cigarettes.
Maryland Commercial Casino Revenue Totals
In May, the six commercial casinos operating in Maryland were able to generate over $172 million in earnings. It was the best month ever for the state, with June also showing a nice earning total, at over $161 million. Both totals were better than pre-pandemic earnings.
Five of the properties showed higher revenues in June of this year than they did in the same month back in 2019. It was only the Horseshoe Baltimore venue that declined. The casino saw a 8.9% drop with only $17 million in earnings.
MGM National Harbor was the big earner, generating over $63 million for the month. This was a 12% increase from 2019. Live! Casino & Hotel came in second with $58.4 million which was more than 19% higher than June 2019.
Because the Maryland casinos have seen a solid recovery, anti-smoking groups are using the earnings to show that smoking is not required for casinos to be successful. Advocates for clean indoor air feel that Pennsylvania and New Jersey need to ban smoking and feel that if Maryland can be successful without it, so can they.
Right now, Pennsylvania allows as much as 50% of the gaming floor for smoking. In Atlantic City, a smaller 25% portion is reserved for smoking. Operators in these states feel that without smoking, their business would be impacted negatively.
In an interview, Americans for Nonsmokers Rights stated that new revenue figures in Maryland show that the casinos fared well, despite being smoke-free indoors. These totals show that gaming operators can still thrive while protecting guests and employees from secondhand smoke.
ANR President Cynthia Hallett is calling for casinos in Atlantic City and Pennsylvania to put their employees first and make the venues smoke-free.
Some would say that the argument by the advocates for non-smoking in casinos is fair. The casinos in Maryland are doing very well and they do not offer smoking. However, these venues are known for not providing a smoking space. Does that make a difference? Is it because travelers already know that they can’t smoke there that makes it acceptable?
Over the past few decades, people have become more health conscious and in most businesses, smoking is not allowed. For casinos, they are just a small grouping of businesses that still allow smoking to take place. Is it time to fully ban smoking now?
If legislation is not created in the coming years, we could assume that casinos will eventually stop offering smoking spots inside their venues in the next decade or so. The younger generations are not big on smoking and it is not something that is as popular as it once was decades ago. We may see a smoking ban never instituted, but far less smoking may take place as generations pass.
It is certainly something to consider, especially looking at the high revenues in Maryland. Most people are willing to adapt to change if they really want to do something, and that would most likely be the case in states that offer smoking, if they decided to stop.