Pennsylvania Casinos Face Smoking Ban
Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 prohibits smoking in workplaces and public places. The Act provides exemptions for casinos. Pennsylvania casinos can designate up to 50% of a gaming floor as a cigarette smoking area.
Now some state lawmakers want to do away with the gaming exemption. Rep Dan Frankel is a co-sponsor of the Protecting Workers from Second-hand Smoke Act. He believes public officials have a responsibility for people’s health. Exposing casino workers to second-hand smoke is harmful, and they shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and their health. The bill is expected to get bipartisan support, and if all goes smoothly, it could go into effect within a year.
Will banning smoking hurt revenue?
Parx Casino in Pennsylvania was one of the few casinos in the state to continue to ban indoor smoking after the pandemic. It decided to permanently ban smoking from the entire gaming floor. Its revenue remained consistent despite this, so it appears that banning smoking doesn’t necessarily have a negative effect on casino revenue.
The year 2022 was a record year for gaming in Pennsylvania, with total revenue reaching $5.2 billion. Parx Casino generated a brick-and-mortar gross gaming revenue of $637.5 million. It topped the list of the 16 land-based casinos in Pennsylvania. Its Pennsylvania online casino is flourishing, with video slots bringing in the most revenue. Gamblers can also play live casino games like poker, which gives them a similar experience to playing in a brick-and-mortar casino.
Will there be fewer customers?
Don Frankel points to research that finds smoke-free environments attract more customers — not fewer. There are fewer smokers now as people become more conscious of the health risks of smoking. The figures relating to smoking deaths per year are frightening many people into quitting. There are some gamblers who smoke that wouldn’t continue going to casinos that didn’t allow them to smoke. However, many gamblers say banning smoking wouldn’t affect them. Some welcome the fact that they wouldn’t have to breathe in second-hand smoke after quitting themselves.
Profits or health
There are residents in Pennsylvania who believe casinos prioritize profits over the health of their employees and customers. These casinos don’t support the ban on smoking as they believe it will cause a significant drop in their revenue.
Healthcare is expensive and is becoming more so all the time. There is no question that smoking causes health problems. This is slowly changing the attitude of the public toward smoking. There are already many casinos that support a total ban on smoking inside and provide venues where people can smoke outside.
They believe this will work in their favor over the long term because it shows their care for their employees and customers.