Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition Pushing for Smoke-Free Casinos
As some casinos choose to go smoke-free due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition is pushing for a blanket ban.
Casino operator MGM Resorts will be reopening the Park MGM property this week as a smoke-free facility. Some casinos in the US have decided to put a ban on smoking temporarily due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. However, for MGM, the Park casino will be smoke free due to player demand. The casino says that guests are actively demanding the facility offer services without allowing smoking to take place on-site. The operator is now meeting that demand. For the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition (NTPC), they see this as a prime opportunity to push for all venues to be smoke-free.
The NTPC is hoping that the decision by Park MGM will be one that starts a trend in Nevada. They want to see all casinos adopt a smoke-free policy and force gamblers to go outside if they wish to smoke. A statement by the group pointed out that employees of the casinos are a valuable resource and over 80% of those employee’s report exposure to secondhand smoke while they work.
The group feels that casinos can do better by their employees with a 100% smoke-free indoor environment. The American Lung Association recently praised Park MGM for its decision to go smoke free and would like to see other venues do the same.
In 2006, the Nevada Clean Indoor Act was passed, which banned smoking in most public areas, including indoors. However, the casinos were excluded from this measure.
Culinary Union Supports Smoke-Free Efforts
The Culinary Union is the largest trade group in Nevada that supports thousands of casino employees. The group has come forward in support of the effort to see casinos become a smoke-free environment. The organization took to Twitter to say that it is long overdue, and they are completely in support.
The union pointed out that they represent around 60,0000 employees in Las Vegas and Reno. These individuals work inside the casino in some form or fashion, including servers, cooks, bellmen and housekeepers. While these individuals may not work on the casino floor, they are still exposed to secondhand smoke.
Tobacco smoking in Nevada has decreased drastically over the years. As of right now, just over 16% of adults are smoking daily or a few days a week. Oddly enough, gaming analysts say that there is a percentage of gamblers who like to smoke while gambling. They may not smoke in general but do so on the gaming floor.
Analysts have also pointed out that smokers would visit a smoke-free facility, but they would then take breaks to go outside and smoke. This would lead to lost revenues as the players would not be gambling as they smoke. Smoke breaks might last longer too, if players decide to have more than one, since they have to come back outside to light up.
Right now, gamblers can light up at the slots or a table game. This leads to continual gaming. If a player decided to go outside to smoke due to a ban, they might then decide that they have had enough and leave the facility. This is a behavior move that many casinos have considered as something that could lead to a revenue loss as well.
The Park MGM Casino is set to open tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how players handle the smoke-free environment. For employees, it will be a welcome change. Will some gamblers be unaware of the smoking ban? Will they act out because they must go outside to smoke? Only time will tell, but for the most part, the smoke-free environment should be well-received by everyone who visits the casino as it finally reopens after being closed due to COVID-19.