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New Jersey’s Bold Move: Senate Committee Pushes to Ban Casino Smoking



A Revolutionary Step for Health and Safety in New Jersey Casinos

In a landmark decision, the New Jersey Senate Health Committee has given the green light to a bill poised to eradicate smoking in Atlantic City’s casinos. This legislative breakthrough symbolizes a significant advance in the four-year-long battle for a smoke-free casino environment. The bill aims to revoke the existing exemption allowing 25% smoking areas on casino floors, a rule set alongside the general smoking ban designed to safeguard workers’ health.

Despite a Stockton University poll indicating a 62% local majority supporting the ban, the bill’s progression sparked fervent debates outside the state Capitol. The clash between the bill’s advocates and detractors underscores the complexity of this public health issue.

The Economic and Health Debate: Balancing Interests

The proposed smoking ban has polarized opinions, stirring a contentious debate around economic and health concerns. Critics, including certain business and union leaders, caution against the potential economic repercussions, fearing job losses and a downturn in the regional economy. Nicola Vitola, a Borgata dealer and proponent of the ban, articulated the health risks faced by casino employees, particularly highlighting her own experience of working at a smoking table during pregnancy.

Christina Renna, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, recognized the detrimental effects of smoking but stressed the potential economic impact of layoffs. Similarly, Local 54 of the Unite Here union President Donna DeCaprio warned of a potential “economic catastrophe” resulting from a total ban.


In contrast, Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, argued that a smoking ban might enhance casino visitations. The Casino Association of New Jersey suggested alternative solutions like improved ventilation and designated smoking areas, minimizing employee exposure.

Towards a Smoke-Free Future: The Legislative Journey Ahead

The legislative journey for this bill is far from over. It still requires approval from the full state Senate and the Assembly before reaching Governor Phil Murphy, who has expressed readiness to sign a smoking ban into law. Republican Senator Vince Polistina is contemplating a bill integrating alternative measures such as specialized ventilation and enclosed smoking zones.

Senator Shirley Turner, a co-sponsor of the bill, poignantly addressed the dilemma faced by casino workers, emphasizing the unfair choice between job security and personal health. This statement encapsulates the core of the debate: ensuring workplace safety without compromising economic stability.

As the bill moves forward, it signals a paradigm shift in New Jersey’s approach to public health and workplace safety, potentially setting a precedent for the broader gaming industry. The outcome of this legislative process could redefine the future of casino environments, not just in New Jersey but across the nation.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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