More Lawmakers Sign on to Support Casino Smoking Ban in New Jersey

Updated On Apr 1, 2022 by Petar Markoski

Indoor Smoking Ban CasinoSummary

  • A2151 and S264 would eliminate smoking inside casinos and racinos in the state.
  • Senate and Assembly members are sponsoring the effort.
  • Americans for Nonsmokers Rights is assisting in the push for change.

For decades, players have visited casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey and just expected to be surrounded in smoke.

For many years, players just knew when they visited a casino anywhere in the US, smoking would take place.

Gaming and smoking essentially go hand in hand. However, over the past few years, states around the nation have instituted smoking bans to provide healthier environments for patrons and employees. New Jersey is one of just a few states holding on to smoking inside gaming venues.

A loophole exists in legislation that allows gaming venues to provide smoking space, regardless of the fact that other indoor businesses cannot allow patrons to smoke. New legislation, A2151 and S264, seek to close the loophole and ban the exemption for casinos and racinos. This week, new sponsors signed on in support.

Gaining Support in Legislature

The bills have seen Assemblyman Daniel Benson and Assemblywoman Lissa Swain sign on in support of the measures. Benson is a health committee member, and both are now ready to help push the effort to end smoking in NJ.

Benson and Swain reiterated with the sponsorship that the lawmakers have a responsibility to ensure that workers are protected from secondhand smoke everywhere, not just in some workplaces. That is a main driving point behind the legislation, as employees have to work in the areas where smoking is allowed, which puts their health at risk.


So far, 39 legislators are sponsoring the legislation. 15 of 40 senators are signed on while 24 of 80 in the Assembly are showing support. The growing coalition against smoking is bipartisan and members will continue to push for a change in legislation.

Casinos Oppose the Effort in Fear of Losing Revenues

Casinos are not happy with the potential ban and fear that if smoking is removed, they will lose out on revenues. A report was recently commissioned by the Casino Association of New Jersey that revealed smoking will cost as many as 2,500 jobs and 11% of the venues revenues if eliminated.

The study was completed by Spectrum Gaming Group, revealing that 21% of Atlantic City gamblers are smokers. The smokers apparently lose more money and spend more on nongambling items, which would cause the loss.

Supporters of the smoking ban point out that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, casinos were unable to offer smoking due to the spread of the virus. Patrons still visited and the casinos were making money. Supporters feel that even if the ban is in place, gamblers will continue to visit casinos and enjoy games, drinks, dining, and other entertainment.

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