International edition
June 14, 2021

Since the ban took effect 12 days ago, revenues have plummeted at most casinos

Atlantic City set to delay smoking ban for one year

(US).- On Monday, the City Council plans to postpone the smoking ban for at least a year due to the crumbling economy. If that happens, the casinos will revert to the previous arrangement under which smoking was restricted to no more than 25 % of the casino floor.

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f the council approves the law and Mayor Scott Evans signs it immediately afterward, gamblers could be lighting up by night’s end. However, Evans has refused to say if and when he’ll sign the postponement. Since the ban took effect 12 days ago, revenues have plummeted at most casinos here.

The four Atlantic City casinos operated by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. are down 10 %, said J. Carlos Tolosa, the company’s eastern division president. The take from slot machines is down 20 %, and table games are down 10 %. And the Asian table games, which draw the heaviest smokers, are down 22 % since the ban began.

At the three casinos run by Trump Entertainment Resorts, business is off 10 to 12 % since the ban began. "It’s pretty dramatic," said Mark Juliano, the company’s CEO. "The reality is it’s had a negative impact on our business and would continue to do so going forward. It’s another negative we just can’t absorb right now."

But some dealers dispute the casinos’ figures, saying their tips are actually up since smoking was eliminated. They say they see just as many customers as before. Under the smoking ban law that was approved by the council in April, the casinos could set up enclosed, ventilated smoking lounges where gamblers could light up away from the slot machines and table games.

Eight of the 11 have done so; the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has climate-controlled outdoor lounges. The Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, and its sister property, Resorts Atlantic City, made no provision for smokers, who have to go outside to light up.

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