Consultant Says Smoking On Casino Floor Contradicts Responsible Gambling

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on September 28, 2022
Smoking inside casinos is not Responsible Gambling

Smoking on the casino floor has been around for quite some time. But according to casino consultant Andrew Klebanow, this is primarily because casino operators are scared gaming revenue will drop should people walk away for a smoke break. 

By allowing smoking on gaming floors to continue, Klebanow says casino operators overlook a critical responsible gaming technique requiring players to take frequent breaks. 

Some casinos have banned smoking on gaming floor

Speaking on the three Pennsylvania casinos that banned smoking voluntarily, Klebanow said:

“A fundamental tenet of responsible gaming is encouraging your players to step away. (The Pennsylvania casinos) did it because they hadn’t seen a decline in gaming revenue (during a COVID-related smoking ban). And they did it because it’s the right thing to do.”

The three properties in Pennsylvania that have banned smoking are:

Rivers was the third casino to ban smoking, having done so on May 17. At the time, a Rivers representative said the smoking ban’s feedback had been positive:

“Rivers Casino Philadelphia has decided to extend its temporary ban on indoor smoking for now. An outdoor patio has been designated for smokers, and guests have complied without issue.”

Is there a connection between gaming and smoking?

According to the National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG), the phenomenon has been “lightly studied,” but research does show a direct connection between gaming severity, smoking frequency and nicotine dependency. 

In an August letter to the New Jersey Senate in support of a smoking ban bill, Keith Whyte, executive director of the NCPG, wrote:

“Given this association between smoking and problem gambling, NCPG believes that making casinos smoke-free is likely to reduce the incidence of problem gambling and improve public health.”

According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 1,021 casinos and other gaming facilities are entirely smoke-free. However, gaming-floor workers are exposed to more secondhand smoke than any other job sector. Additionally, 19 states, including Illinois, Ohio and New York, ban smoking in commercial casinos.

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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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