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Legislative Updates

Casino Smoking Ban Legislation Held

On November 30, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee considered S-264 (Turner/Vitale), which would permanently ban smoking in all Atlantic City casinos.

CCSNJ president & CEO, Christina M. Renna testified in opposition to a full smoking ban during the hearing. In her comments, Ms. Renna stated that, as the leader of an organization whose mission is to promote the economic prosperity of the southern portion of the state, and therefore job creation and job sustainability for the region’s residents, the CCSNJ had no choice but to oppose a full smoking ban as some Pennsylvania casinos, including Live! Casino in South Philadelphia, allow for 50 percent smoking on its casino floor. She went on to say that although it is impossible to predict if there would be an economic impact should New Jersey’s casinos permanently ban smoking, given Live! Casino’s close proximity to South Jersey, as well as the unsuccessful history of Atlantic City’s only smoke-free casino, Revel, which shuttered operations in 2014, it is fair to be concerned about regional job loss due to a full smoking ban.

According to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission’s 2022 annual report, of the 22,289 casino employees, approximately 21,593 live in the seven most southern counties of New Jersey – the exact footprint that the CCSNJ represents – leaving the CCSNJ no choice but to fight to protect the economic viability of the gaming industry, and therefore the economic welfare of an enormous number of South Jersey residents. Ms. Renna went on to say in her comments that New Jersey and Pennsylvania should pass a full smoking ban at the same time to minimize the likelihood of individuals who prefer smoking while gambling traveling across state lines to do so, and therefore negating any possible job loss or economic impact to one state over the other.

After 90 minutes of testimony, S-264 (Turner/Vitale) was held due to lack of support. However, Committee Chair and the bill’s primary sponsor, Senator Joseph Vitale promised to resume the hearing in the coming weeks.

 To read the CCSNJ’s full testimony, please click here.

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