he council changed its mind at the last moment and agreed to repeal the smoking ban for at least a year, but couldn’t legally stop the no-smoking rules from taking effect on October 15. The ban expired a minute after midnight Sunday, and gamblers can now light up again.
Some casino workers feel betrayed by the council’s reversal, but many gamblers and casino operators are pleased. Trump Entertainment Resorts CEO Mark Juliano says at least now there’s an even playing field with out-of-state slot parlors.
On October 15, smokers were forced outdoors or, at nine of 11 casinos, to enclosed lounges. Twelve days later, a split City Council pushed back the ban to help casinos mitigate their customer losses. Revenue was off almost 20 % in the week after the ban took hold, according to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
Casinos may now revert to the previous law that restricts smoking to 25 % of the gaming floor. So far this year, the casinos have won us$ 3.9 billion, down 6.6 % from the same period last year. This year will be the second in a row that revenues have declined in Atlantic City, after 28 years of consecutive increases.