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Smoke Free Casino Legislation the Cause of Controversy

Land based casinos have been named everything from “choking boxes” to “gas chambers”, and the lack of smoking regulation has been the cause of so many gamblers preferring to stay home and play online. Following the complaints, Atlantic City established a Smoke Free Casino Legislation a mere 11 months ago.

According to the Smoke Free Casino Legislation, all land based casinos in Atlantic City are to designate enclosed rooms or lounges for smoking purposes, outside of which all gambling and recreation must be done in a smoke free casino environment. Yet it has been six months since these casinos have submitted their construction plans to be reviewed by the State Agency, and not one of them has been responded to. As for approvals to the construction plans, the matter is still completely in the balance.

The issue has been a cause of controversy among many; whilst some believe that the casinos have exploited a loophole in the Smoke Free Casino Legislation – that of having no deadline for the review process – the casinos themselves believe that they have complied with the new restrictions in a cooperative manner.

Bruce Ward, a councilman, claims that such casinos are simply trying to “forestall the inevitable”, and indeed, without a deadline for the reviews, some casinos are yet to respond. Chris Donnelly of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) explained that “the approval process is contingent upon the casinos to submit the necessary information…it’s up to the casinos to do it.”

On the other hand, opponents of the Smoke Free Casino Legislation say that not only will the smoking lounges cost millions to build, but it will turn away even more customers. As such, they also blame the Smoke Free Casino Legislation for the 5.7% decrease in annual revenues.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.