More New Jersey Assembly Members Back Anti-Smoking Bill

New Jersey Residents Back a Smoking Ban at Casinos in Atlantic City

The Assembly in New Jersey is likely to muster the support necessary to pass a hotly-discussed prohibition on indoor smoking on casino floors. This comes following news that Atlantic City casinos have caved to union members’ demands and will sign new contractual agreements that will significantly boost the level of pay and bestow a host of other benefits. Of course, for any of this to happen, a formal vote would need to take place.

Anti-Smoking Measure Gets More Support

But the most recent story is about casino smoking which has been the silent and until now tolerated killer on gaming floors in New Jersey’s beating gambling heart. This is about to change, though, as there seems to finally be the legal support needed to prohibit payment on casino floors.

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights CEO Cynthia Hallett has welcomed the news that 43 out of the 80 Assembly members are actually in favor of passing a bill that will end the practice and let workers breathe freely. Hallett insists that smoke-free casinos are actually better for the economy and there is fact-based evidence that they outperform competitors where smoking is allowed.

Banning smoking has been feared by the Casino Association of New Jersey as its members cited that the industry could start losing money, arguing that smokers were still the biggest spenders in AC. The Association further warned about a possible job cut and losses across the board, but this is not very likely to happen supporters of the bill argue.

For one, casino workers are themselves keen to see it through, not just in Atlantic City but also elsewhere in Rhode Island where indoor smoking on casino floors has been a problem. Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects co-leader Pete Nacarelli welcomed the support that has been gathering. “It’s amazing what we’ve been able to achieve so far, but we will continue fighting,” Nacarelli said.

Not Everyone Agrees with Banning Smoking

CEASE and ANR have been keeping a close eye on who is endorsing the bill and why. According to the organizations, six more Assembly members and four more senators have got behind the measure this week alone, giving the anti-smoking campaigners a strong legal foothold.

More legislators have vowed to back the bill as they find it deserves the right amount of political attention. But surprisingly, there is opposition even within the industry. Unite Here Local 54 for example has opposed the bill. The union which recently threatened strike action against Atlantic City casinos managed to negotiate with at least four of them and got workers a significant pay rise.

However, the union is not entirely convinced that banning smoking on gaming floors would be sustainable which is an overlap with the official stance shared by casinos.

Author: Ian Douglas