May 2, 2022
Another Philly Casino Voluntarily Gets Rid of Indoor Smoking
Rivers Casino Philadelphia is A Main Competitor with AC Casinos
Atlantic City, NJ— Rivers Casino Philadelphia, a major competitor to Atlantic City casinos, on Friday made public that it has ended indoor smoking at its property, becoming the second Philadelphia-area casino to voluntarily go smokefree indoors. In a letter sent to employees on Thursday, the casino’s vice president of operations wrote that as of Friday, April 29, “Smoking will not be permitted indoors in any locations of the property.”
The casino is the number-three performing casino by revenue in Pennsylvania. Last fall, Parx Casino, just outside of Philadelphia, ended indoor smoking to protect its employees and provide a better experience for its guests. Parx is the top-performing casino in the Commonwealth.
“It’s becoming harder and harder for Atlantic City casinos to defend indoor smoking that threatens the health of their employees,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “Rivers Casino Philly joins Parx Casino and casinos in Delaware, Maryland, New York and Connecticut in not permitting indoor smoking. It’s past time for Atlantic City casinos to end this outdated business practice and instead benefit from the guests who would visit their properties were it not for the smoke.”
Last fall, Parx Casino decided to maintain a no-smoking policy after Pennsylvania lifted its temporary ban. According to Parx’s chief marketing officer: “Since smoking was allowed to return to (Pennsylvania casinos) in June, we have continued to be an indoor non-smoking facility. We’ve done it for the health and comfort of both our guests and team members. We have received significant positive feedback from both constituencies. And (we) have continued our strong performance and gains of market share in the region.”
In February, a Parx spokesperson told NJBIZ: “Even many smokers have given positive feedback and have not minded going to the smoking patio. Employees are extremely happy with the change — especially the table games team.”
CDC Gaming Reports has highlighted how Pennsylvania casinos with smokefree indoor policies are seeing record high revenue– already surpassing figures reported in 2019. “The experiences of Parx and Mt. Airy contravene the conventional argument that a casino smoking ban significantly reduces revenue as well as local and state tax payments. Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board figures show that both Parx and Mt. Airy have earned more in the first nine months of this year than they did in 2019, when the state set a record high for gaming revenue.”
American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller has said that casinos that have gone smokefree have done so “without detrimental effect” and that the decision “hasn’t led to a decrease in business.”
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.