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by Ray Poirier | Now that Atlantic City officials have mandated that casinos
eliminate smoking within their gambling halls, officials at the Borgata Hotel
Casino and Spa have responded by announcing massive plans to care for their
smoking customers.

The answer, Borgata says, is a renovation project of its 2,000
hotel rooms to provide covered outdoor smoking areas, which won’t be
completely enclosed.

“Tens of millions of dollars will be spent on the
project,” said Larry Mullin, property president.

“It will be very nice looking (and) we also think it will
be very popular with our employees,” he told the Associated Press.

Mullin explained that the outdoor smoking areas won’t require
a ventilation system like an indoor smoking lounge would, and will be heated in
the winter months to keep smokers comfortable.

As for the hotel guests, he said, smoking will be permitted in
some rooms.

The Atlantic City smoking ban will take effect on Oct. 15. Until
now, the casinos were permitted to maintain only 75% of their gambling areas as
smoke-free. The new regulation will require 100% smoke-free casinos.

Mullin said part of the impetus behind the renovations is the
wave of new casino-hotel projects that have been announced recently for Atlantic
City. These new properties are expected to be constructed over the next five

Borgata, built in 2003, is owned by a partnership involving Boyd
Gaming Corp. (BYD), the property manager, and MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM).

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