Customers with a smoking habit will trade in Marlboro Reds for nicotine gum once Park MGM reopens in Las Vegas. Why? Because the massive, 3,000-room resort is set to become The Strip’s first smoke-free casino.
Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas are set to reopen on Sept. 30, the company recently announced. Earlier in the year, all US casinos were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once doors open, all of MGM’s US-based properties will be up and running again.
MGM president cites guest demand
Casinos have gradually reopened on a state-by-state basis but with strict health and safety measures in place. Given the considerable time properties have been closed, operators like MGM have listened to customers and revamped policies.
Anton Nikodemus, president and chief operating officer of MGM, said guests have requested the casino to be completely nonsmoking.
“As we looked toward our reopening, we identified an opportunity to be responsive to recurring guest demand for a fully nonsmoking casino resort on The Strip,” Nikodemus said in a statement.
Nikodemus told the Associated Press, “We believe there is a high level of pent-up demand to have a nonsmoking casino, especially here in Las Vegas.”
The casino will still offer smoking areas outside, and nearby MGM Resorts properties New York-New York and Aria will continue to allow smoking indoors.
“Opening Park MGM and NoMad represent significant milestones, as they are the last of our properties to welcome back employees and guests alike,” said Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts CEO and president. “The last six months have presented extraordinary challenges, and I could not be prouder of the MGM Resorts team for the tireless effort required to get us here. There is much work ahead as we remain focused on the health and safety of our employees and guests, but this is an important moment for us.”
Rethinking casinos during COVID-19
Park MGM may be the first casino on the Vegas strip to go smoke-free, but it joins a growing list of properties across the US that have already adopted the practice.
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), a nonprofit that creates comprehensive programs to prevent secondhand smoke, the list of smoke-free casinos in the US is quite extensive.
As of August 2020, there are at least 957 US casinos and tribal gaming venues with 100% smoke-free policies. Some properties are required by state law to be smoke-free, while others are because of their own corporate policy.
But what better time to rethink health policies than during a pandemic? The ANRF notes that 39 state-regulated commercial casinos are implementing smoke-free policies during COVID-19.
At least 782 commercial casino were already smoke-free prior to the pandemic.
Notable properties joining the list of smoke-free casinos include:
- MGM Grand Detroit (MI)
- MotorCity Detroit (MI)
- Greektown Casino (MI)
- Parx Casino (PA)
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia (PA)
- Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (PA)
Michigan retail sports betting recently launched at its three commercial casinos, meaning customers won’t be able to smoke while placing bets.
Some casinos in these 12 states will be adopting new smoke-free policies:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Additionally, 129 tribal casinos are implementing 100% smoke-free policies during the pandemic.