Covid-19 Pandemic Pushes US Casinos To Adopt Smoke-Free Operation

The US is currently home to more than 200 commercial and tribal casinos which have been hit pretty badly by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been many months since the virus first surfaced on US soil and these casinos, including every land-based offer in New Jersey, have prepped up for what comes next.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), land-based casinos in the state have reopened smoke-free which is a new measure to curb the spread of the virus on casino floors.

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Before the coronavirus pandemic, this kind of public health momentum in casinos would not have been possible, Brian King of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health said during the CDC’s weekly partner call.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in smoke-free casino adoption, which is certainly a silver lining in the context of the pandemic,” King said.

According to King, all casinos in New Jersey including those in Atlantic City had adopted this new smoke-free policy.

“Seeing that implementation of a broad public health policy in this environment at the state level of a major hub for gambling and casinos is very important,” King said. “It’s definitely a public health win and shows an added benefit of not only protecting workers but also patrons.”

There are many benefits to the smoke-free policy which go beyond fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the main reasons are due to the health implications that come from smoking. These health implications would not only affect smokers but also other people due to secondhand smoke exposure.

The adverse effects of smoking have always been made public to enlighten smokers and other people close to smokers. Being exposed increases the risk of several health conditions like stroke, heart attack, and lung cancer in adults. The smoke-free policies would not only help reduce the chances of such health complications occurring, but also encourage more people to stop smoking and deter others from starting at all.

“If all these casinos remain smoke-free even post Covid-19, this could have an immeasurable in terms of not only protecting the public who attend these venues, but also workers who are working eight hours or more per day in these environments,” King added.

Atlantic City Casinos Fighting To Stay Afloat

US casinos especially those in Atlantic City saw their revenues drop with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. As the disease ravaged America in 2020 forcing the government to introduce restrictions and lockdowns, land-based casinos had to shut their doors for several months to gamers. Even so, gamers had to stay confined though they easily found solace in online casino platforms.

As the pandemic eased, brick-and-mortar casinos were allowed to get back to business, however, they had to face some level of restrictions. In New Jersey, casinos were restricted to a 25% capacity with food, beverages, and bar seating banned which was a nightmare for casino revenue.

This went on throughout 2020 with no end in sight to the business-strangling restrictions. Luckily, the launch of the Covid-19 vaccines gave casinos a glimmer of hope which soon materialized in February. For New Jersey casinos, it was a sign of good things to come as the Governor eased restrictions on casinos.

The press release not only stated that casinos could expand their capacity to 35% but also allowed for indoor food and beverage services making the casino almost as lively as it once was. However, bar seating still remained banned due to fears that such sitting positions could be counterproductive.

With US casinos returning back to full operation, things are expected to step up in terms of revenue generation.

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