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Legislative Updates

CCSNJ Testifies on Proposed Casino Smoking Ban

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On Monday, February 13, the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey’s (CCSNJ) President and CEO, Christina Renna testified before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on S-264 (Turner/Vitale), which would ban smoking in Atlantic City casinos.

Atlantic City is the engine that drives the economic success of South Jersey. The CCSNJ is concerned that this legislation will result in a loss of gamers visiting Atlantic City, and a negative economic impact for the region and the state.

In her testimony, Ms. Renna stated that while she feels that a smoking ban will eventually come, and that it is the right thing to do for the health and safety of casino workers, the timing for the ban must be right to enact this type of policy. She went on to state the three things that must align are in order for state government to help minimize the economic impact on the state’s casinos:

  • Casinos returning to pre-pandemic levels of revenue. Although overall casino revenues are up due to the popularity of sports betting, brick and mortar casino revenues are still down having not recovered since their historic closures due to the pandemic.

  • The regional, statewide, and national economies must be strong. As Governor Murphy has predicted, the state is likely on the brink of a recession – now is not the time to make changes that could drive business away from Atlantic City casinos.

  • A full ban in Pennsylvania of smoking in all casinos must align with a full ban in New Jersey. In 2021, Live! Casino and Hotel in South Philadelphia opened, which allows smoking. The convenience of this casino, which is directly accessible once off the Walt Whitman Bridge and near all Philadelphia sports arenas, as well as the popular Xfinity Live! entertainment complex, provides South Jersey residents an easy option to gamble, smoke and be entertained. New Jersey should time their smoking ban with all Pennsylvania casinos so there is parity in our neighboring state, which will hopefully minimize any economic impact from the ban.

A study conducted by Spectrum Gaming Group estimated that a smoking ban could lead to a loss in total taxes of between $17.2 million and $44 million, and potentially 2,500 fewer jobs. Careful consideration needs to be taken into account on the impact on the more than 22,000 workers employed by Atlantic City casinos, of which over 21,000 live in the seven most southern counties of New Jersey.

To read the CCSNJ testimony on S-264 (Turner/Vitale), click here.

Please reach out to Hilary Chebra, Manager, Government Affairs at if you have any questions.

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Hilary Chebra

Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ

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