New Jersey Casinos Betting on Smokers
Casinos have for years been one of the last bastions for the smoker. Long gone are the days when lighting up in an elevator, on an airplane, at a restaurant, or even in a bar was tolerated, let alone legal….
Casinos have for years been one of the last bastions for the smoker. Long gone are the days when lighting up in an elevator, on an airplane, at a restaurant, or even in a bar was tolerated, let alone legal.
But one holy temple has remained for smokers to get their nicotine fix indoors: New Jersey casinos. And Atlantic City is happy to oblige. According to a report released Monday, smokers at casinos burn cash quicker than a pack of Marlboro Reds.
Smoke ’Em If Ya Got ’Em
Slot jockeys are still allowed to light up on 25% of the gambling floors in New Jersey, but Governor Phil Murphy has promised to sign a bill to ban smoking inside Atlantic City’s famed casinos if one comes to his desk.
That sent the Casino Association of New Jersey into a tizzy, so much so that it commissioned a report by the Spectrum Gaming Group essentially asking the legislature to butt out:
- Smokers represent 21% of Atlantic City gamblers, and — according to the report — tend to lose more money than non-smokers while also spending a whopping $93 million a year on non-gambling purchases.
- Banning smoking on the floor could result in an 11% drop in revenue, costing between 1,000 and 2,500 casino jobs within the first year alone.
Pipe Dreams: But not everyone within casino walls shares the same view. A group of Atlantic City casino workers worried about the dangers of second-hand smoke has teamed with national non-smoking groups to push New Jersey to close the smoking loophole, and a new bipartisan bill to do just that is now moving through the legislature after one died there last year.
Been There, Smoked That: Atlantic City Council temporarily banned smoking in 2008, but less than two weeks later voted to restore it after casino winnings declined by 19.5% during the first week of the ban. Must be something in the air.