Non-Smoking Areas Growing In Popularity Among Nevada Casinos

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on March 6, 2023
Smoking Ban Growing In Popularity

Some legislative efforts to ban casino smoking have been underway in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. But there is a lack of support when it comes to Nevada.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, smoking inside casinos was temporarily banned. Some casino employees hoped it would stay that way. But only a few Nevada casinos have decided to feature non-smoking areas on casino floors.

However, more changes have happened lately, with Park MGM becoming the first smoke-free casino on the Strip in 2020. Other casinos, such as the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas, announced developing smoke-free areas too.

Nevada casino members supporting the smoking ban slowly growing

Although non-smoking areas are growing in popularity, Nevada casino industry locals suggest a lack of support for a smoking ban.

A secretary-treasurer of Culinary Local 226, Ted Pappageorge, told Las Vegas Review-Journal that Nevada’s casino employees are more divided. They are certainly more divided than casino workers in New Jersey who formed an organization, Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects. The group’s bill to ban smoking inside casinos has more than 24 co-sponsors.

With Nevada, it’s a bit different. According to 2022 member surveys, about 90% of Nevada casino employees don’t smoke. And only 61% support a smoking ban in casinos. “But 40 percent do not. It’s really not overwhelming amongst our members.” Pappageorge said. Those mixed feelings mirror the state, he said.

Some business leaders and casino lobbyists still feel that smoking and gambling go hand in hand. Most would agree that smoking-friendly policies keep some of the highest-spending customers happy. And they keep coming back for more.

Pappageorge said members supporting the ban are slowly growing in popularity.

Some Nevada casinos already offer non-smoking areas

Non-smoking areas are common in casinos across the US. Pennsylvania, for instance, allows 50% of a gaming floor to be non-smoking. In Nevada, however, non-smoking areas will only be available in a few places.

Park MGM, formerly Monte Carlo, is smoke-free. No smoking is allowed in its:

  • Casino
  • Convention center
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Hotel rooms
  • Corridors
  • Common areas, including resort pools.

Ride Share Zone is the only area where smoking is allowed, located off the main lobby.

As part of a multimillion-dollar transformation of its Main Street entrance, the Plaza will feature a 2,500-square-foot non-smoking area. The section will have:

  • A separate entrance from the rest of the gaming floor
  • 80 slot machines and electronic table games

The casino says it will open in late April, with a grand opening in mid-May.

The Mirage also promoted a non-smoking area with a sign at the property in mid-February. But the casino removed the sign from the casino floor by March. Joe Lupo, president of The Mirage, said in a statement:

“With the ongoing updates across the property, visitors will continue to see exciting changes as we improve and expand the guest experience. We look forward to sharing more in the next 30 days.”

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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