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NCLGS endorses smoking ban in casinos

Jan 15, 2009 7:59 PM
Staff & Wire Reports |

There’s always been a synergy between gambling and smoking, but a coalition of gaming states has endorsed breaking the unwholesome chain.

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, an organization comprised of lawmakers from states with casinos and other forms of state-regulated gaming, has formally adopted a resolution encouraging states to take action to make all gaming worksites smoke-free.

The resolution was adopted at the NCLGS 2009 Winter Meeting, recently held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The resolution, sponsored by Delaware state representative William Oberle, the current president of NCLGS, was passed by the NCLGS Committee on Casinos and approved by Executive Committee.

"We applaud NCLGS for approving this landmark resolution. It should serve as a wake up call to lawmakers to stop delaying on smoke-free protections for all workers," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights. "For a casino worker, every day breathing secondhand smoke in the workplace is one too many. Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air – regardless of the color of their collar."

The NCLGS resolution encourages lawmakers to include casinos and other gaming venues in smoke-free workplace laws.

In addition, it recommends that smoke-free air be included in state-tribal gaming compact agreements.

This news comes as several states and tribes around the U.S. will be considering smoke-free laws that include gaming facilities.

A number of states, such as Illinois, Delaware, and Colorado, already have smoke-free casinos, while others are expected to consider strengthening state smoke-free laws to include gaming worksites.

Unfortunately, casino advocates point out that smoking bans often times stunt the growth of gaming revenue. In Illinois and Colorado, for instance, the casinos claim smoking bans have cut into their gaming revenues.

And in Atlantic City, a smoking ban was put on hold for a year because the casinos said the drop-off in patronage from smoking casino players was too great to accept.

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