Push for Smoke-Free Casinos Targets Shareholders of Gambling Firms

The debate about smoking on casino floors across the United States has been ongoing for decades. While casino operators claimed that an indoor smoking ban would hurt their revenues, health and workersโ€™ rights organizations voiced their concerns about the negative impact of second hand smoke on the employeesโ€™ health. Smoking indoors is prohibited across the United States but there are several states that have loopholes in their regulations that permit smoking inside casinos.

One state where talks for and against a smoke ban have intensified recently in New Jersey, the home of the coastal casino resort destination, Atlantic City. Fighting the casino smoking exception, workers at Caesars, Ballyโ€™s and Tropicana, supported by the United Auto Workers (UAW), filed a lawsuit, challenging the loophole in the New Jersey indoor clean air law.

But the efforts of anti-smoking groups did not stop there, with a new report suggesting that the American Nonsmokersโ€™ Rights Foundation and the Michigan-based health care system, Trinity Health, filed proposals with shareholders of three leading gambling operators in the state. As announced by the Associated Press, proposals putting up the smoking ban topic up for discussion during the annual shareholder meetings for Ballyโ€™s and Boyd Gaming have already been filed by the two organizations. The two anti-smoke groups have sent an identical proposal to Caesars, but the company is yet to confirm when its annual meeting will take place.

This innovative approach seeks to take the issue to the stakeholders, rather than wait for the companies or lawmakers to decide for or against a smoke ban. It marks the latest effort of the anti-smoking groups that seek to ensure the health and well-being of casino workers who have been subject to second hand smoke for decades.

Fight against Indoor Casino Smoking Continues

New Jersey is not alone in the fight against casino indoor smoking. Similar efforts are led by anti-smoking groups in several states, including Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kansas and Rhode Island. Casino workers in those states have all united and warned that second hand smoke is harmful to their health, an effort that underlines the importance of the matter.

โ€œMany shareholders will be surprised to learn that these casino companies still allow indoor smoking, even in the year 2024, and that the policy is harming the very workers who were instrumental in the companies generating billions of dollars in revenue in 2023.โ€œ

Cynthia Hallett, president of the Americans for Nonsmokersโ€™ Rights Foundation

Cynthia Hallett, the Americans For Nonsmokersโ€™ Rights Foundation president, predicted that it will be surprising for some shareholders to understand that the companies they have invested in offer indoor smoking in 2024. She added that indoor smoking is harmful to the workers who made billions for gambling operators in 2023. โ€œIf casinos will not do the right thing on their own, then we will continue to explore every avenue to protect the well-being of workers and patrons,โ€ said Hallett in conclusion.

This week, New Jersey Sen. Kristin Corrado filed Bill S3080, a proposal that called for a ban on college prop bets. The bill was filed at a time when more student and professional athletes voiced their concerns about receiving threats on social media by bettors who lost hefty wagers.