Gov. Murphy willing to sign bill into law

New Jersey lawmakers schedule hearing on casino smoking ban bill for November 30

2023-11-23
Reading time 1:25 min

New Jersey lawmakers are set to hold a hearing next week on a bill to overturn the state's casino smoking ban exemption. The Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill on November 30th at 1:00 PM.

The casino smoking ban proposal is one of 11 bills the committee is scheduled to take up during the hearing, according to a report by The Press of Atlantic City. As per the publication, six senators in the eight-person committee already sponsor or co-sponsor the legislation.

The proposal would prohibit people from smoking inside casinos in New Jersey. Smoking is currently limited to 25% of a casino floor as a result of legislation that was passed in 2006. Governor Phil Murphy had previously said he would sign the proposed casino smoking ban bill if it cleared the Legislature, which was confirmed this week by a spokesperson for his office.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, at a recent news conference said lawmakers would likely consider the bill in the Legislature's lame-duck period, which falls between Election Day and when the Legislature reorganizes.

Casino owners, union leaders oppose ban

Casino employees have been lobbying lawmakers to pass the bill, claiming that doing so would protect their health by restricting their exposure to secondhand smoke. However, casino owners and union leaders warn that the industry could suffer significant monetary losses that could lead to about 3,000 layoffs and possibly casino closures.

Unite Here Local 54, which represents resort casino workers, is against the ban, as it believes that a ban would lead gamblers to take their business to neighboring states.
Donna DeCaprio, the union’s president, earlier said: “Unite Here Local 54 continues to fight for a safe working environment for all workers. However, the smoking ban bill, in its current form, would be catastrophic for Atlantic City workers, Atlantic County residents, and the State of New Jersey, as a whole.”

For its part, the general public is in favor of an indoor smoking ban. The Press of Atlantic City cited a Stockton University poll published in April 2022, according to which about two-thirds of New Jerseyans support banning smoking in casinos. 

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