Atlantic City had approved a smoking ban back in April which had went into effect on October 15. The regulation had provided for casinos to be able to set up separate smoking lounges away from the slot machines and table games, as long as they were enclosed and ventilated. Eight of the Atlantic City casinos have done this already, but the city council has decided to postpone the smoking ban for a year due to the economic situation.
Casino owners and some workers had been fearful that a ban would further reduce revenues that have been declining steadily for over a year. Competition from tribal-owned casinos in Connecticut that don’t restrict smoking and partially smoking slots parlors in Pennsylvania were pulling away the Asian gamers in droves at the Taj Mahal Casino during the two weeks of the smoking ban. Further revenue declines put the casinos at greater risk of job cuts which had some workers concerned.
On the other hand, there are also many casino workers that are angry at the postponement saying that the second hand smoke puts their health in jeopardy. Workers expressed that they felt betrayed after thinking they were finally going to get to breathe clean air. As one non-smoking dealer said, “there’s no way to escape” the smoke.