Casino & Bingo: PA Smoking In Casinos


Pennsylvania Smoking in casinos update

May 2, 2008
I take particular offense to your opinion? that gambling smokers are
killing innocent people. You seem content with the fact that Atlantic
City will have? enclosed? ventilated? lounges,? that do not include
slots, although it could? be quite possible? to have? these smoking
rooms staffed? by persons? who may volunteer to work in these areas,
they the gamblers will not be able to play there. Also noted, your
mentioning the Tobacco Lobby, an even more powerful lobby is the
institution’s funded by the tobacco settlement funding to the states.
Pennsylvania’s share to the tune of? hundreds of millions of dollars is
also funding the proliferation of advocacy groups and advertising?
promoting? smoking bans.
Pennsylvania lawmakers should continue to allow freedom of choice for?
both smoking and non-smoking customers in private business’s, these are
not public areas, as no one is forced to patronize or work for these
establishments. By the way, that little elderly lady from Port Richmond
you referred too, she can gamble in Philly Park’s non-smoking casino, if
she wants too, without holding her breath!
I Thank You for allowing my comment,
Edward J Moore
Phila. Pa 19134

Casinos steam over smoking rules
Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia,PA,USA
“The city gaming floor smoking ban should be repealed” or at least suspended until other states ban smoking, Trump wrote. He said the enclosures would “look …

Lawmakers: smoking ban talk likely to re-ignite
Williamsport Sun-Gazette – Williamsport,PA,USA
By MIKE REUTHER – The burning issue of a statewide smoking ban left smoldering in Harrisburg this summer could re-ignite this fall. …

Pittsburgh casino owner Barden doesn’t plan to ban smoking on floor

August 2, 2007
The owner of the city’s planned slot machine casino said he doesn’t plan to ban smoking on the casino floor or even offer a nonsmoking section.
Don Barden spelled out his plans in a letter to the Green Building Alliance, which promotes environmentally friendly building standards.
Barden said in the letter that he plans to use environmentally friendly building practices in the planned $450 million Majestic Star Casino, but that he won’t pursue a green building certification from the government because of the smoking issue.
“For us to declare our facility a nonsmoking facility would not be a prudent business decision, considering that a large percentage of our customers are smokers,” Barden said in the letter.
Even adding some nonsmoking areas on the casino floor would cost too much, Barden said in the letter. The casino is planning to offer nonsmoking areas in its bars and restaurants, however.
All the other slots casinos in Pennsylvania offer nonsmoking sections on casino floors.
The Legislature is considering a statewide smoking ban for public places, but whether casinos will be exempted is part of the debate. A spokesman for Barden’s PITG Gaming said the casino would ban smoking only if a state law requires it.

Smoking in casinos: Is it a gamble?


Sure, casinos can take your money, but can they kill you? Anti-smoking advocates say it’s happening every day in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City, where workers and customers suffer a slow death by secondhand smoke.

Smokers’ rights supporters contend the only insidious actions are the anti-tobacco lobby’s distortions of health studies in an attempt to outlaw a legal activity.

Both sides of the contentious issue cite numerous scientific, health and economic studies supporting their points of view as the unequivocal truth.

But they share common ground in their belief that gambling venues are the next target of the smoke-free movement.

With the opening of slots casinos in Pennsylvania, including the $300 million Philadelphia Park Casino in Bensalem, both sides agree next year could prove pivotal.

“It’s a concern for us as any worksite is a concern for us,” said Janet Northcott, associate director of the Bucks County Tobacco Control Project. “We’re aware that this issue of casinos is one of the big issues looking at statewide legislation.”

With more long-term data suggesting secondhand smoke is a health hazard, anti-tobacco supporters believe casinos eventually will go the way of airlines, public buildings and many restaurants and bars that have banned smoking.

In May, Puerto Rico will ban smoking inside casinos. Seven states, including New Jersey and Delaware, have banned smoking at dog and horseracing tracks. Later this month, the Atlantic City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposal that would ban smoking on casino floors. New Jersey already has banned smoking in all other public places.

“Casinos are kind of the next phase in terms of social change around the way of smoking that harms other people,” said Bronson Frick, associate director of the California-based Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “Next year will be the turning point for smoke-free air in casinos around the country.”

Few U.S. casinos are 100 percent smoke-free, and it appears there is strong legislative support to keep it that way.

In October, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives exempted slot casinos in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from local smoking ban regulations and zoning rules.

There are no plans to ban smoking throughout the Philadelphia Park Casino, which opens Dec. 19 with 700 employees, and an anticipated 7,000 customers daily. It has built a separate, 100 percent smoke-free gaming area with 100 machines for non-smokers and will expand it if needed, officials said.

“People should have choices,” Philadelphia Park Casino Chief Operating Officer Dave Jonas said.


Smokers’ rights advocates say there’s no need for draconian measures, arguing no legitimate study has proven that exposure to low levels of tobacco smoke in businesses with decent modern ventilation systems has killed anyone.

“There is no reason for the government to come in and ban smoking in the casinos,” said Michael McFadden, mid-Atlantic regional director of the Smoker’s Club Inc., a national smokers’ rights group. “The air in casinos is not dangerous.”

A growing number of scientific studies appear to conclude otherwise.

Casino workers are “disproportionately” unprotected by smoke-free workplace policies and exposure to secondhand smoke at the workplace, according to the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Secondhand Smoke.”

The report concluded there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and casino workers typically suffer high work exposure to secondhand smoke. Casino workers in a “well-ventilated” casino had cotinine (metabolized nicotine) levels 300 percent to 600 percent higher than in other employees in smoking workplaces during a work shift.

Additionally, the first, longterm study examining exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace concluded a direct correlation between secondhand smoke in the workplace and damage to employee DNA.

That National Institutes of Health-funded study followed 125 employees, all nonsmokers, who work on the gambling floors of casinos in both northern and southern Nevada.

Other recent studies suggest ventilation systems, air cleaning technologies and smoking rooms cannot eliminate secondhand smoke exposure, Frick said.

The New Jersey-based Group Against Smoking Pollution released its study last month examining nicotine exposure levels before — and after — the state’s smoking ban went into effect.

The group examined indoor air quality at 50 locations throughout the state in 2005 and again this year after April. It visited all Atlantic City casinos twice, including once during the July state government shutdown, when casino gambling was suspended.

What it found among casinos was that non-gambling areas, required by law to be smoke-free, were on average more than half as polluted as the gambling areas. It also found that during the New Jersey government shutdown, the level of indoor air pollution was very low in casinos because there was no smoking.

By contrast, at restaurants, bars and other businesses that formerly allowed smoking, the group found fine-particle indoor air pollution was reduced an average of 91 percent, and business wasn’t reduced.


The anti-smoking movement cites such evidence in gaining ground toward stubbing out smoking in casinos.

Next year, 52 percent of the American population will be covered in jurisdiction with a strong smoke-free law in public and work places, Frick said. The public is aware of the health hazards associated with secondhand smoke, he said. And, a recent study of Nevada gamblers found that four out of five were nonsmokers.

“Casinos are increasingly seeing the writing on the wall,” Frick said.

Smokers’ rights advocates, though, say plenty of evidence exists that the antitobacco lobby is distorting facts to get its way, said McFadden, a spokesman for the Smokers Club Inc.

Most studies of concentrated lifelong daily exposure to secondhand smoke have failed the most basic research standard of statistical significance and those studies never included venues with modern ventilation standards, he said.

Many secondhand smoke studies cited by tobacco opponents use exposure levels “much higher” than you would find in the middle of a smoking section on a sealed airplane, he said. “It’s not a typical situation at all.”

McFadden said he believes the new focus on casinos is merely part of a grand plan designed to slowly chip away at smokers’ rights. “As long as you do it step by step, it seems normal. It just seems like a normal little step that no one is going to mind,” he said.

Philadelphia Park’s market research shows people don’t like playing in non-smoking areas, and non-smokers rank things like playing the machines they like and playing with friends, higher than exposure to secondhand smoke, Jonas said.

“Smoking or non-smoking is not on their radar screens; that is what the research has told us,” Jonas said.

At the Philadelphia Park Casino, the first-floor, smokefree game area is enclosed, and the new ventilation system will pump in outside air. Jonas said the room’s air will be “a pristine quality,” though there are no plans to do regular air-quality checks.

If the non-smoking area proves popular, it could be expanded, Jonas said, to adjacent enclosed areas.

“The customer will speak,” he said.

Antis: What to expect

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