United Auto Workers calls for casino smoking ban

April 30, 2022

New Jersey lawmakers are being urged by the union representing casino dealers in Atlantic City to ban smoking in the resort's casinos. Consequently, legislators have been asked to hold hearings on a measure to eliminate a loophole in the state's anti-smoking laws, which currently only permits smoking in casinos.

A group of Atlantic City casino dealers has been lobbying politicians for nearly two years to ban smoking in the casinos. The Casino trade group, The Casino Association of New Jersey, argues that doing so would put the New Jersey casinos at an unfair disadvantage. Since they are already in an already competitive northeast casino industry. Seven of the nine casinos have not yet exceeded their pre-pandemic operating gross profits.

United Auto Workers backs up the smoking ban

The United Auto Workers has also joined the push to ban smoking in casinos as political support for the effort grows. If the Garden State can muster enough support to get the measure through the House and Senate, this may become a reality.

Lawmakers have the authority and support to fix the loophole that allows casinos to continue providing indoor smoking. At the same time, all other public venues are prohibited from doing so, according to the union's belief. On Thursday, the United Auto Workers published a letter in which they reaffirmed the requests of other anti-smoking groups.

Workers at Tropicana, Caesars, and Bally's are all represented by the United Auto Workers union. Considering how dangerous second-hand smoking can be, the union believes it is unacceptable to allow it to be tolerated.

The letter reads, "No worker in New Jersey should be forced to breathe cancer-causing chemicals every day." Legislators and worker's representatives have been engaged in an apparently endless battle over the issue of a smoking ban.

Public attention

Although the issue had not gained much attention before the pandemic, the temporary closures and prohibition of indoor smoking in 2020 and 2021 (albeit for a limited period) yielded immediate empirical evidence that the measure is actually beneficial to people's health.

Despite Casino Association of New Jersey believes that the establishments would suffer a significant competitive disadvantage if the ban were imposed, neighboring states are still seeking to enact the same policy. As a result, smokers will have few options for places to go other than playing on-site and following the restrictions.

In contrast, the Casino Association has been strongly opposed to the idea. An independent analysis it commissioned claimed that a ban on smoking on casino floors would result in the loss of jobs and an adverse impact on finances.

Opposite to United Auto Workers would do, Local 54 of Unite Here wrote to the Senate President Nicholas Scutari and asked him not to proceed with the proposed prohibition on gambling smoking. They believe by doing so could result in the loss of jobs. When the industry is battling to locate enough workers and get them back to work, the United Auto Workers contended that the statements about job losses were "scaremongering."

According to the United Auto Workers, there is enough bilateral support to approve a law that finally bans smoking on casino floors in Atlantic City.

Gus Anderson
Gus Anderson is a gambling wizard. As a kid he dreamt about becoming a Tennis, Hockey and Golf professional but ended up as a gambling professional with focus on both sports & casino.