Smoking ban spurs Borgata renovations

May 6, 2008 7:00 PM

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 wont 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 wont 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 years.

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