Home Gambling Industry Rivers Casino bans indoor smoking in Pennsylvania

Rivers Casino bans indoor smoking in Pennsylvania

03 May 2022
3 min. read

The Rivers Casino in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

While the debate in New Jersey rages on as to whether casinos should be prohibited from allowing smoking on their gaming floors, some private properties in Pennsylvania are taking matters into their own hands and defying fear-mongering that lack of smoking options would spell financial distress for business.

In fact, Rivers Casino Philadelphia is confident that there are only benefits to be extracted from this decision. Rivers is not entirely a trend-setter as it is taking its cue from Parx Casino and Mount Airy, both of which decided against smoking on their gaming floors. This change, Rivers Casino spokesperson confirmed, has gone without any challenges.

Rivers Casino head of communications Jack Horner confirmed that River Casinos in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will no longer be allowing smoking in the same areas where people game or work. However, the casino has created designated areas for customers to bunk off for a smoke, including the outdoor area on the patio.

This has been well-received by consumers who don’t seem to be necessarily perturbed by this, Horner added. The decision is important as it sheds more light on whether casinos can afford to "lose smokers" or whether the decision would turn people away.

There is little evidence to suggest that this is happening, and the lessons learned in the Keystone State may serve as the basis for solving a conflict in New Jersey where Atlantic City casinos and their workers are at loggerheads as to what to do next with smoking indoors.

The United Auto Workers and Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects have said that smoking is doing too much damage to employee health to be tolerated. Others, though, including the Casino Association of New Jersey, and even some unions, have said that the city is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and banning smoking directly on the casino’s floor would lead to job losses.

This does not mean to be yet the case in Pennsylvania which has been more open to the idea of ending indoor smoking in casinos, which have been exempted from a public prohibition to do so. According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights CEO Cynthia Hallett sees in Pennsylvanian casinos’ decisions even more reason for New Jersey to do the same.

Even more, it creates the basis of a tangible argument for why smoking is not needed to guarantee good financial standing. Casinos in Pennsylvania are joining others across the country to suspend smoking indoors. Other states that apply the same restrictions include Delaware, New York, Connecticut, and Maryland.

Image credit: Rivers Casino

03 May 2022
3 min. read