Trump says 'sue' over AC smoking ban

Apr 29, 2008 7:00 PM

Staff & Wire Reports | In the wake of Atlantic City’s full ban on smoking in casinos, Donald Trump has a simple solution: sue.

Trump last week called on the 11 Atlantic City casinos to sue over the ban, saying it has created a competitive disadvantage with neighboring gaming states, especially Pennsylvania.

The real estate magnate, and chairman of a company that owns three casinos in Atlantic City, said he would not file his own suit but wants the Casino Association of New Jersey to stop the ban from taking effect in October.

"I’m not a smoker, and I don’t personally like what smoking does to people," Trump told The Associated Press in an interview in his Manhattan office. "But this puts us at a huge disadvantage."

Slot parlors in the Philadelphia area, which have been stealing many of Atlantic City’s most profitable and reliable customers over the past year and a half, permit them to smoke while gambling. Some smokers shunned Atlantic City last April when the city imposed a partial ban that restricts smoking to no more than 25 percent of the casino floor.

But anti-smoking advocates said the partial restriction didn’t work. The smoking areas were not walled off and separated from nonsmoking areas, as last year’s law had called for, and smoke still wafts throughout the casino floor.

The new ordinance – approved last week by the Atlantic City city council – allows casinos to construct gambling-free smoking lounges but does not require them to.

The gaming association’s president did not return calls seeking comment. Joseph Corbo has previously said the industry would reluctantly go along with a ban if it had enough time to prepare.