The smoking ban debate continues in Atlantic City as lawmakers are set to hold another hearing on March 9. Just a few weeks ago, the New Jersey Senate discussed the aspects of a potential ban, and now the Assembly has such a hearing on the books. The New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee will hold a hearing in a few days to discuss Assembly Bill 2151, with a potential ban on smoking within gaming venues.
New Jersey Assembly Committee Set to Hear Casino Smoking Argument.
- The New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee will hold the hearing.
- The chamber has had a smoking ban measure under consideration since late 2020.
- Assembly Bill 2151 has plenty of support with a similar measure in the Senate.
Supporting a Casino Smoking Ban
Assembly Bill 2151 has support from its co-sponsors and additional legislators, which paved the way for the upcoming hearing. A similar measure exists in the Senate and is also under consideration with support.
Governor Phil Murphy has stated that if a smoking ban bill were to pass involving NJ Casinos, he would sign it into law. The legislation seeks to ban smoking inside casinos, providing a healthier environment for employees and players.
The legislation on the table would amend the 2006 Smoke-Free Air Act to include Atlantic City casinos. When the law was originally passed, there was a loophole in place that allowed the casinos to continue allowing smoking on-site.
While there is movement within the legislature involving the smoking ban legislation, it is believed that the bills are being stalled until after the November election this year. It could be that lawmakers want to ensure they maintain their position before taking a stance either for or against the measure.
The Assembly bill currently has 54 co-sponsors out of the 80 members within the chamber. The Senate measure has 25 supporters from the 40 members.
CEASE Pushing for Smoking Ban
asino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) is pushing the campaign to see the nine casinos in Atlantic City change to a smoke-free environment. Players want to be able to enjoy New Jersey casinos without being affected by smoking, and employees have been very vocal in support of the change.
CEASE feels that the upcoming Assembly hearing is a good step in seeing the industry change for good. The group said they would not rest until the bill had been signed into law and employees no longer had to decide between health and a paycheck. The advocate sees the Assembly hearing as a way to protect lives in the workplace.
It is expected that the path toward a smoke-free environment will be a long one. If the smoking ban bills continue to be delayed, it will take even longer for votes or real change to happen. The upcoming hearing in the Assembly is for a discussion only, so a vote is not expected to take place.
Up to 25% of the Casino Floor is Open to Smoking
Based on the loophole of the air act from 2006, casinos are allowed to have up to 25% of the gaming floor allocated for smoking. The remaining section of the casino floor is to be smoke-free. Even though casinos follow this and have ventilation and filtration systems, experts say that the only way to have a truly healthy and safe environment is to be smoke-free.
Just recently, a new study was released by the CDC, which stated that testing found dangerous levels of Particulate Matter in the air within a casino. The matter was found in a casino within the smoke-free areas.
If you consider the last time you were in an area that offered a smoking space, you most likely could smell it and possibly even see the smoke within other areas of the venue. In a casino, the space is quite large, but smoke will always travel and be an issue, be it with the smell or how it affects the health of others.
We will stay tuned to the hearing on March 9 to see how the discussion develops. Hopefully, lawmakers will be ready to vote on the legislation soon to get the ball rolling on creating a healthier environment for casino-goers in Atlantic City in the future.
Having started in 2005 as an online writer, Sadonna has focused on the online gambling industry, with a keen knowledge of various subjects. Sadonna has followed the growing US-based gambling industry for decades, covering all the legal changes in the nation as well as information on land-based and online casinos. She enjoys updating fellow gamblers on new games, casino bonuses, and additional information for premium gaming services. In her spare time, Sadonna loves spending time with her family and singing on Smule. Sadonna hopes to continue working in the online gambling industry and building quality articles for players to learn more about the US market.