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AC City Council, Casino Gaming

Casino Connection on the Smoking Ban Delay

   The following is from our friends over at Casino Connection Blog:

A Judicious Choice

Last Wednesday, with just a week to go before a full smoking ban was to take effect at Atlantic City’s casinos, City Council said it will consider delaying the order for a year, or until the economy improves.

Though smoking opponents showed up to make their displeasure felt–as they had every right and reason to do–it looks like City Council is going to make the difficult decision to opt for a continued partial ban, which restricts smoking to a quarter of the gaming floor.

A full ban was sure to cause a further drop in casino revenue, with gamblers who smoke vowing to head to casinos out of state. Atlantic City casinos saw an overall drop of 5.7 percent in revenue last year—the first decline in the industry’s history–and Borgata President Larry Mullin has reportedly projected a 15 percent decline for 2008.

City Council is right to rescind the ban, if only temporarily.

You have to give credit to UNITE-HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt, who also weighed the detrimental effects of tobacco against the overriding issue of jobs and economic stability.

“Smoking is not healthy,” McDevitt told the AC Press. “Smoking kills people. So does job loss, unemployment and the threat of foreclosure. People will lose their ability to feed their families.”As the industry here scrambles for ways to fend off competition from Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, it’s vital to eliminate any obstacles to solvency. An ordinance to postpone the Atlantic City smoking ban faces a second reading before council on October 22.

–Marjorie Preston

   This post was preceded by “Let My People Smoke,” where Ms. Preston said the following:

read in this week’s Global Gaming Business Weekly that smoking bans in France have led to a 20 percent drop in casino revenues. And NPR just reported that pubs in Great Britain are closing at the rate of 60 per month due to smoking bans. These culturally rich, historic meeting places are gone forever, along with the camaraderie that made them great, because patrons can no longer have a pint and a smoke as they have done for decades, perhaps centuries.

Here in Atlantic City, Donald Trump predicts that our 100 percent smoking ban, coming October 15, is going to be a “disaster.” I absolutely agree with him, and for the first time, I agree that revenue, jobs and opportunity will be lost because of smoking bans in adult entertainment venues.

I do not support smoking. I wish everyone in the world would quit. But I also believe in the right of adults to choose their own behavior, and to conduct themselves as they see fit.

To those who respond that casino workers should not have to work around smokers, I have to agree with others who say, folks, the bans that are ostensibly meant to help you could help you right out of a job. If smoking bans are going to cripple the industry, we should all do as Pennsylvania has done and leave room for compromise.

I have hereby exercised the prerogative of a woman to change her mind.

–Marjorie Preston

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About Jesse O. Kurtz

I am committed to fulfilling the promise of Atlantic City. The town would benefit from greater political participation by average citizens. Hopefully, some of the posts herein will encourage you to get more involved in your community. This blog will also feature other topics and subjects beyond Atlantic City. I hope that you will come to love Atlantic City as much, or more than I do.

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