Las Vegas Strip Casino Workers Seek to Ban a Popular Bad Habit

You can do anything in Las Vegas (more or less) but some employees want to end one vice that has long been associated with casinos.

Las Vegas caters to every vice.

The city caters to gluttony with its endless supply of restaurants and all-you-can-eat buffets that range from absurdly cheap to decadently expensive. Sin City has greed covered as people try to win at the tables and slot machines.

Lust, as you might imagine, happens all over the city in bars, strip clubs, and in the many adult-themed shows. And, of course, there’s the pride you feel when you win a jackpot and envy when you see someone else win one. Wrath might be a little less likely when you’re in Las Vegas but sloth comes into effect as you lay by the pool or decide that sleeping until noon makes sense.   

Very few things are off-limits in Las Vegas. You can drink to excess, eat until you can barely leave the table, and while prostitution is only legal outside the city’s limits, that’s more a technicality than a reality. Sin City also has become Pot City as cannabis has not only been legalized for recreational use but consumption lounges have been approved and are opening soon. 

There’s no sin off the table in Las Vegas, but a group of casino workers actually wants to change that.

Image source: Palms Casino

Las Vegas Workers Seek a Historic Ban

Currently, only MGM Resorts International’s (MGM) – Get MGM Resorts International Report Park MGM actually bans smoking. Other casinos, including Caesars Entertainment’s (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc. Report Caesars Palace and Wynn’s (WYNN) – Get Wynn Resorts Limited Report Wynn and Encore properties have strong ventilation systems as well as smoke-free sections.

Casinos are actually an exception to Nevada’s smoking laws.

“The Nevada Clean Air Act outlaws smoking indoors with the exception of tobacco stores, strip clubs, private residences, some stand-alone bars, and of course, casinos. While indoor smoking is illegal across much of the country, gamblers are still able to light up in Las Vegas casinos to the dismay of non-smokers around them,” Las Vegas Then and Now reported.

That’s something that Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects, or CEASE wants to change. Representatives of the group spoke to reporters outside the recent Global Gaming Expo, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported,

The group, which was founded in Atlantic City, New Jersey has founded a Las Vegas Chapter.

“I’ve been in the casino industry for over 26 years and, frankly, I’m sick and tired of having people blowing poisonous secondhand smoke directly into my face on a daily basis,” said Pete Naccarelli, an Atlantic City table games dealer and co-founder of CEASE in New Jersey.

Could a Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip Smoking Ban Happen?

While MGM, Caesars, and Wynn have tried to make their properties less smokey, casino operators have largely been resistant to smoking bans. They have broadly argued that outlawing smoking will hurt their revenue. That may not actually be true, according to an independent study done by Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“As a nation, we have seen a cultural shift away from smoking with fewer Americans than ever smoking cigarettes,” Amanda Belarmino, an assistant professor at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality told the paper. “I think the trend of increased nonsmoking space will continue,” she said. “It can help casinos attract employees who don’t want to be exposed to secondhand smoke as well as guests. I think we may see a time when only a handful of casinos allow smoking in designated areas.”

Banning smoking was once unthinkable but the covid pandemic caused many casinos to outlaw or limit the practice. Those bans were rolled back as mask rules and social distancing policies were removed as covid-era restrictions were lifted.

A smoking ban seems unlikely even if the data suggests it might actually be good for business.

“Data from multiple jurisdictions clearly indicates that banning smoking no longer causes a dramatic drop in gaming revenue,” C3’s report said. “In fact, non-smoking properties appear to be performing better than their counterparts that continue to allow smoking.


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