Including Nevada and Pennsylvania

Atlantic City casino workers against smoking plan group expansion to other states

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A group of Atlantic City casino workers opposing smoking within casino floors has new plans to expand their efforts beyond New Jersey, according to latest reports. The Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects (CEASE) group, which was formed last year in an effort to protect casino workers from secondhand smoke, unveiled the ambitions to extend into new states as G2E takes place in Las Vegas.

“We are in Vegas for the gaming conference, trying to get some Vegas employees to help out,” representatives for the group said in a video uploaded to Facebook. “While we are out here, if any of you guys have family, friends, anyone out here that might be interested in starting a movement, or continuing the movement we started in Atlantic City, we are looking for people to take the reins.

In addition to plans for Nevada, CEASE has opened a new dedicated social media group for Pennsylvania, confirming an expansion into the Keystone State. Elsewhere during their Vegas visit, members of the group approached industry stakeholders in an effort to gather support for their cause. Among them is slots influencer Brian Christopher, who reportedly vowed to only visit smoke-free casinos starting January, according to the group.

The CEASE group was first formed in an effort to eliminate smoking on casino floors in Atlantic City. While there is a law ensuring a smoke-free environment for workers in New Jersey at large, the legislation calls for a specific exemption on gambling venues. With the addition of Nevada and Pennsylvania, the group would be reaching four states, as it also has an arm based in Rhode Island as well.

CEASE also confirmed the expansion during a news conference this week at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, as part of a larger plan to reach the whole country and help eradicate smoking from casino floors in different jurisdictions. The group is urging casino employees from places beyond Atlantic City to contact CEASE to start collaborating with the group.

The planned expansion comes as the proposed Atlantic City smoke ban continues to generate debate and controversy. While many operators voluntarily implemented smoke bans during the worst days of the pandemic, a majority have resumed smoking on their casino floors, much to the discontent of their employees.

A bill seeking to ban smoking inside Atlantic City’s nine casinos died in last year’s session, even though Gov. Phil Murphy said he would sign should it pass. This time around, a majority of legislators in both the Senate and the Assembly are co-sponsoring similar legislation to close the casino smoking loophole, although the bill hasn’t made significant progress.

The Casino Association of New Jersey, the trade association for Atlantic City’s casinos, opposes a smoking ban, claiming it would lead to jobs and revenue losses. Smoking opponents reject those assertions, pointing to places in other states where non-smoking casinos are outperforming competitors that allow it.

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